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Pesto twist pastry Christmas Tree

This is a really simple recipe, quick to assemble recipe that looks festive and impressive - and tastes great! Good for nibbles, grazing and cheese boards. Serve with dips, chutneys and relishes (my favourite is this tomato chilli relish)

View this recipe as a step-by-step video cookalong in our Christmas Special interactive eBook.

Total time to make : 30 - 35 minutes

Time to prep : 10 minutes

Time to cook : 20 - 25 minutes


2 x sheets of square puff pastry*

8 tbsp pesto (homemade or from the supermarket) - red or green (I prefer red) or half and half like mine, above 90g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 egg (for egg wash) + 1 tbsp of cold water, milk or cream

* find puff pastry in the frozen aisles of supermarkets, defrost over night in the fridge or on the counter at room temperature for about 30 minutes until the dough is workable but not too soft. They are available in sheets or rolls or either squares or rectangles. It doesn't matter here which one you use


  1. Pre-heat a fan oven to 190ºC and prepare a large baking tin with baking paper and set to one side

  2. Layer one sheet of puff pastry on top of the other with a sheet of greaseproof paper in-between each slice (they usually have sheets of greaseproof paper between them when you buy them - this is great to use) on a chopping board, cut a 'tree shape' using a sharp blade. You can slice them individually if you like but I like the sandwich method as it ensures both top and bottom are the same size and shape. Once sliced, seperate the two tree shapes

  3. Discard the extra puff pastry or use to cut stars and shapes out with

  4. Lay the bottom tree shape on the prepared baking tin and use a few tsp of your chosen pesto and smear thinly over the base. Avoid using tsp's with lots of excess oil in as this can make the pastry quite soggy. If using 50:50 do one half with green pesto and one half red

  5. Carefully sandwich the top of the tree on. Use a sharp knife to cut the branches, which we'll twist later. Make sure you leave a 1-inch "trunk". Please see my amateur diagram, below, absolutely not to scale. The solid lines are the untouched pastry sheets and the dotted lines are the Christmas tree shape, base and branches

  6. Once you've cut the branches, use your fingers to twist each branch, starting from the bottom (two or three twists depending on the size) up the the top (one twist). Once finished, place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. This will help keep the twists in place

  7. To make the egg wash, use a fork to whisk the egg and cold water/milk or cream together in a small bowl. Once the pastry comes out the fridge, use fingers or a pastry brush to cover the pastry. If you have any extra cut out pieces (stars etc.) then do this with them too

  8. Scatter some very finely grated parmesan cheese over and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp to touch. Smaller pieces and pastry cut outs may be ready quicker so use seperate trays and keep an eye on them

Nutritional Information

(per serving, as 6)

204 calories

11g fat, 20g carbs, 5g protein


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