All you need is 5 simple ingredients for this easy but impressive Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree! It’s filled with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese, which besides being delicious ingredients their colours are so christmassy (green, red and white). Don’t let this design intimidate you, it only takes a few minutes to slice and roll. And it’s much simpler than it might appear – store bought puff pastry brings it all together without much effort. Oh! And what’s even better is that you can assemble this pesto, tomato and cheese puff pastry ahead, so one less thing to worry about on Christmas day.
For birthday parties or meals with a lot of people I regularly make my puff pastry tart with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and cheese. In fact, I developed this summery Cheesy Ricotta Roasted Tomato Tart with Pesto from this idea. I am not really into making specific holiday-decorated food, since as you know my mission with Paula’s Apron is to share easy seasonal recipes that we can make and enjoy from Monday to Sunday throughout the year.
However, last year, when I saw the Christmas tree design from the blog Il Caldo Sapore del Sud I found it so cool that I had to make it. What stroke me was the fact that with this design there is no leftover puff pastry (often puff pastry Christmas tree designs ask for snipping the puff pastry sheet and thus there are leftover pieces that we can’t efficiently use). So, considering that for Christmas meals we’re all after easy yet super delicious appetisers, I combined my cheesy pesto and sun-dried tomatoes puff pastry tart idea with this Christmas tree design. The result are mouthwatering rolls that really wow everybody.
Some Notes on The Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree Ingredients
This 5-Ingredient Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree is super simple and even versatile. Here are some notes on the main ingredients.
- Puff Pastry: I use store-bought puff pastry in this recipe to make it as simple as possible. If you’re using frozen puff pastry, be sure to thaw it in the fridge first.
- Cheeses: you can use the cheese that you like the most or a combination of cheeses, as long as the ones you use are not very strong such as Roquefort. If they are too strong they may not pair well with the pesto which is very aromatic. At home I always have flavourful cheeses like Parmesan, Grana Padano, Cheddar, Emmental or Gruyère and cheeses that are not that flavourful but that instead melt well like mozzarella, fontina or provolone, so I usually combine one of each group. In today’s recipe I used a combination of low-moisture mozzarella and cheddar.
- Sun-Dried Tomato: tomato is an ingredient that goes so well with pesto and cheese (corroborated by the thousand Italian recipes using this combo). I use sun-dried tomatoes because they have an intense flavour and fresh tomatoes are not in season. Also, I like to add it to the tree because it brings an extra touch of flavour and colour, that very Christmassy red. You could also use tomato confit.
- Pesto: I use classic homemade Genovese pesto in this recipe, with basil and pine nuts, but you can use store-bought too. If you use store-bought, try to ensure it has extra virgin olive oil in the list of ingredients instead of other oils. If you want it traditional, then also look at the nuts in the list, pine nuts only should be used.
The amount of filling combinations are endless. You could use tomato sauce, ham and cheese (a classic); sobrasada, goat cheese and honey; truffle sauce and sausage; caramelised onion, sautéed mushrooms and cheese… You can even make a sweet Christmas tree with cinnamon roll flavours, or with a chocolate hazelnut spread. Just let your imagination run free and combine the ingredients that you like best :).
How to Assemble the Christmas Tree
Assembling this Puff Pastry Christmas tree couldn’t be easier. First we start by making a puff pastry “sandwich”: spread the ingredients on a sheet and then use another sheet to cover them. Next, preferably with a pizza cutter or, if you don’t have one, with a very sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into 16 strips (the length of the strip will be that of the short side of the puff pastry sheet). I cut it by eye: first I cut it in half, then each half in half, and so on until I have 16 strips.
Then roll 14 strips as you can see in the picture below (as if they were cinnamon rolls).
We are going to roll the 2 remaining strips as if they were puff pastry palmiers. They are going to be the trunk of the tree. Take an end and tightly roll it into the center. Do the same with the other end.
Once we have all the 14 rolls and the 2 palmiers, it’s assembly time. First take the two palmiers and place them vertically against each other (rolls facing out) on a baking tray. Then take two rolls and place them side by side next to one of the upper spirals of the trunk. Repeat with two more rolls on the other side. These 4 rolls and the 2 palmiers will be the base of the Christmas tree. Next, place 4 rolls on the layer above, then 3, 2 and 1.
How to Store This Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
If you have baked Christmas tree leftovers – I doubt you’ll have 😛 -, place them in an airtight container and store it in the fridge. For me, these puff pastry rolls are best enjoyed straight out of the oven, at its flaky prime, but I would also gladly have them at room temperature, or even cold, devoured directly from the fridge XD.
You could also freeze them. In this case, thaw them first overnight in the fridge and then bake them at 220ºC to get some of the crunchiness back. Alternatively you could also thaw them directly in the oven and leave them there until crunchy.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make the puff pastry Christmas tree ahead?
You can assemble the Christmas tree the day before and keep it in the fridge. It’s best baked though right before serving.
If you prefer to even bake it ahead, I would make it maximum half a day before, since the puff pastry gets soft over time. When it’s time to serve it, you can put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes at 220ºC. In any case avoid the microwave, since this would soften it more.
Can I make these puff pastry rolls with another non-Christmassy shape?
Of course! You can make 16 rolls (no palmiers) and bake them in a circular, square or rectangular baking tin if you prefer. This recipe is great all year round :). You can even use a muffin or cupcake tin and place a roll in each hole. If you use a tin, I recommend that you grease it first with a bit of butter.
How do I hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes?
If you have sun-dried tomatoes that aren’t preserved in oil, you can hydrate them very easily. Put the tomatoes you are going to use in a bowl, bring some water to a boil and pour it over the tomatoes. Let them soak for about 30 minutes or until you see that the tomatoes have become fleshy.
More Puff Pastry Appetisers
If you make this 5-Ingredient Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree recipe, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
5-Ingredients Savoury Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
- 2 sheets puff pastry - if using frozen puff pastry, thaw it the night before in the fridge
- 200 g pesto
- 8 sun-dried tomatoes - either preserved in oil or hydrated (see notes) and chopped
- 80 g low moisture mozzarella - grated. See notes.
- 80 g mild cheddar - grated. See notes.
- 1 egg - beaten
- Sage - optional to garnish (you can also use rosemary, pine tree or Christmas tree sprigs)
- Unroll one puff pastry sheet either on a lightly floured surface or on parchment paper (I use the parchment paper that comes with it). Spread the pesto, sprinkle the chopped sun-dried tomatoes evenly over it and top with the grated mozzarella and cheddar.
- Unroll the second puff pastry and carefully place it on top of the first one, matching the corners. Preheat the oven to 210ºC.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut 16 strips (I cut the sheet in half, then each half in half and so on). The length of the strip should be that of the short side of the puff pastry sheet.
- Make 14 rolls with 14 of the strips. For the remaining 2, take one end of the strip and roll the pastry tightly into the centre. Repeat from the other end, it should look like a palmier.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take the 2 palmier-shaped rolls, and place them vertically against each other (rolls facing out) – they will be the trunk of the tree. Place 2 rolls on each side of the upper roll of the trunk. Place 4 rolls on the layer above, then 3, 2 and 1.
- Brush the puff-pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and crunchy.
- To serve, place a lace or star on top of the tree so it looks even more Christmassy and enjoy!
- Hydrate sun-dried tomatoes: put the tomatoes you are going to use in a bowl, bring some water to a boil and pour it over the tomatoes. Let them soak for about 30 minutes or until you see that the tomatoes have become fleshy.
- Cheeses: you can use only or a combination of cheeses, as long as the ones you use are not very strong such as Roquefort. If they are too strong they may not pair well with the pesto which is very aromatic. At home I always have flavourful cheeses like Parmesan, Grana Padano, Cheddar, Emmental or Gruyère and cheeses that are not that flavourful but that instead melt well like mozzarella, fontina or provolone. I usually combine one of each group.