One of my favorite parts of The Nutcracker is when the Christmas tree grows to giant proportions. I wanted to include a tribute to the tree in our Nutcracker menu, and before long I stumbled across this clever pastry recipe from a website called Tavolartegust. I made a few changes to make it my own, and before long I had a delicious prosciutto and pesto Christmas pastry to snack on.
I think one of the best things about it is that is has that visual wow factor while still being really easy to make. You just put your filling between two layers of puff pastry, cut the pastry in a simple pattern (I’ve included visuals in the instructions below), and twist the sides into branches. Presto: instant Christmas meal! 🙂
Clara’s Christmas Tree
- 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 1/4-1/2 cup pesto (I like to use this recipe, but you can use store-bought too)
- 8 strips prosciutto, approx. 4 oz (NOTE: Prosciutto is very salty. If your pesto is on the salty side as well, you may want to swap out the prosciutto for deli ham)
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
Makes 1 Christmas tree pastry (enough for approx. 4-12 people, depending on whether you use it for an entree or an appetizer)
- Preheat your oven to 375°. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Place your first sheet of puff pastry on the baking sheet. Spread a layer of pesto across the pastry in the shape of a giant triangle. Spread a small rectangle of pesto at the bottom of the triangle (this will be the trunk). You want the edge of the pesto to be at least an inch from the edge of the pastry at all times.
- Place your strips of prosciutto on top of the pesto and sprinkle your mozzarella on top of that.
- Whisk together your egg with 1 tbsp water. Brush the exposed portions of pastry with egg wash. Place your second sheet of pastry on top of the first sheet, gently pressing it into place. Cut away the un-filled portion of pastry, leaving about 1 inch between the filling and the trimmed edge of the pastry. You should be left with a large tree shape.
- Starting at the bottom of triangle and working your way up, use a sharp knife to cut 1-inch wide strips along one side of the triangle, stopping about 1 inch from the center of the tree. Do the same with the other side (this will create the branches and give you a 2-inch “trunk”). Make sure to cut all the way through the prosciutto, since that it’s the toughest part of the filling.
- Brush the tree with egg wash. Twist each “branch” into a spiral.
- Place the baking sheet in your oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the top of the pastry begins to turn golden brown. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the pan.
- Serve warm on a magical Christmas night.