Asiago Pesto Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

This savory appetizer by @haveucoveredinthekitchen is as pretty as it is delicious. The center of any table, your guests will love to share this one with a chilled Pinot Grigio.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

  • Asiago cheese Pesto* – 1/2 cup of homemade or any type of store-bought basil pesto
  • 2 packages of frozen puff pastry sheets 2 per package, 4 in total thawed according to package instructions
  • 1 egg plus water for eggwash
  • Sesame seeds for garnish
  • Sweety drop biquinho peppers, for garnish, optional
  • Mozzarella pearls for garnish, optional

*Asiago Cheese Pesto Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rinsed and dried fresh basil leaves packed the small leaves are the most flavorful
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Asiago cheese plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pignoli nuts
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt

*Asiago Pesto:

  • 2 cups of rinsed and dried fresh basil leaves packed the small leaves are the most flavorful. 1/2 cup of freshly grated Asiago cheese plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pignoli nuts
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Using a rolling pin, roll out the first 2 sheet of puff pastry fusing together lengthwise with fingers onto a prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Do the same for the second 2 puff pastry sheets and set those two aside on a separate baking sheet.
  • Spread the pesto sauce onto the first sheet of puff pastry that is on top of the baking sheet. Then add the second sheet of puff pastry on top like a sandwich.
  • Brush the entire surface with an eggwash, grate some cheese on top and then sprinkle sesame seeds, if desired.
  • If desired, to help you cut the shape of the Christmas tree, stencil out a triangle template, and lay it on top of the puff pastry.
  • Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut out the Christmas tree shape making sure to cut a tree trunk at the bottom. You can lay the extra sections of puff pastry aside. If you want to cut a star or other shapes with cookie cutters to cook at the same time as the tree is cooking.
  • As for the branches of the tree, you can place a ruler down the center of the puff pastry as a guide if it’s easier.
  • Starting on one side, make horizontal slices through the two puff pastry layers into the sides of the Christmas tree being careful to stop before you reach the center of the tree.
  • Repeat the same process on the other side of the tree triangle being careful to stop before reaching the center of the tree leave about a 1 to 2 inch section down the middle of the tree that is not sliced.
  • Begin twisting the branches away from you. Press the edge of the branch firmly into the parchment paper to keep the branch from untwisting. Continue twisting the branches until both sides are completed.
  • Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash and extra sesame seeds .
  • Bake in the preheated oven until puffy and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.
  • Garnish along the branches with the peppers and mozzarella pearls. You can gently slide the Christmas tree pastry on to a serving platter. Or lift the parchment paper off the baking tray and place on top of a serving platter.

Pesto Directions

  • In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil and pignoli nuts until finely chopped.
  • Add the garlic and cheese, and continue pulsing, stopping a couple of times to scrape the sides of the blender or food processor canister with a rubber spatula for the remnants.
  • While the food processor or blender is running, stream in the olive oil gingerly in a small stream. This will help it emulsify and prevent the oil from separating. Stop blending a few times to continue scraping the remnants from the sides with the spatula.
  • Pour into a small bowl and stir in the salt and pepper to taste.
Keyword asiago cheese, cheese appetizers, holiday appetizers