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It’s the festive season and this Spinach Puff Pastry Christmas Tree is savory treat you, your family, and guests will love. Simple to make with a cheesy spinach filling, store-bought puff pastry and pizza sauce for serving.
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And simple? Absolutely! If you can cut a triangle, make straight cuts and twist, you can easily make this festive savory holiday appetizer.
If your family is anything like mine, this won’t last long. Much like cheesy pull-apart bread, It’s quick and simple… and really, really delicious.
It also makes a festive addition to any Christmas table, whether you’re entertaining, serving brunch or dinner… or for Christmas Eve party food.
Here’s what I love About This Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
- It savory. In a season of treats, it’s an unexpected, delicious appetizer.
- Christmas-y and fun!
- Takes minutes to make.
- Uses mostly store-bought ingredients. Much like my Easy Holiday Cheese Board. Which would be a GREAT addition to your party, by the way.
What You Need to Make this Simple Holiday Appetizer:
The exact measurements are in the recipe card below, but here are a couple of ingredient notes on what you need to make this Puff Pastry Christmas Tree.
- Frozen spinach: I like to look for frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped baby spinach. Be sure to thaw it and then using a paper towel or linen, squeeze excess moisture from it.
- Cream cheese, softened or at room temperature for easy blending.
- Minced clove of garlic.
- Shredded cheese: I like a mixture of shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Seasoning: I love the flavor of ground nutmeg but if you’re not a fan, skip this seasoning. You may a pinch of Italian seasoning instead. I also like to use a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
- Frozen puff pastry sheets, (2 sheets) thawed but still cold
- Large egg for brushing
- Pizza sauce or marinara sauce for dipping.
You will need a large baking sheet. I like to use a half sheet size plus parchment paper to fit. A sharp knife or pizza wheel for cutting the pastry and an offset spatula spreads the filling easily. Although this can also be done with a rubber spatula or even a butter knife.
How to Make a Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
Step by step instructions are in the recipe card below, but here’s a quick overview of how to make this savory appetizer. Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.
Step 1: Make the cream cheese spread
Cream together the cream cheese, garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper until combined.
Step 2: Shape the pastry
It’s important that the puff pastry is thawed but still very cold and that you work quickly. This helps to easily separate the two puff pastry layers.
Stack the layers on top of each other and cut a triangle from the top center of the pastry to the bottom. Then cut out a trunk shape at the bottom. Remove excess pastry and reserve. Peel the top layer from the bottom and set aside.
Step 3: Spread the filling
Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bottom tree shape leaving a small border. Top with spinach, mozzarella, parmesan and red pepper flakes if using.
Step 4: Sandwich the layers
Place the second tree shaped pastry layer directly over the bottom layer. Line up the edges and press to seal.
Step 5: Twist the branches
Make straight cuts using a pairing knife or pizza wheel from the edge of the tree to 1 inch from the center “trunk.” Repeat cuts every 1 inch to the top of the tree on both sides. Transfer tree to baking sheet.
Carefully lift each pastry strip from the end and twist each strip away from yourself, 3 full twists on bottom branches to 2 twists on the top. With remaining pastry, cut out a single layer star shape and place at the top of the tree if desired.
Step 6: Bake
Coat the entire tree with a beaten egg wash and salt and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve with additional shredded cheese and pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.
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- 5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, (2 sheets) thawed but still cold
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese, garlic, nutmeg, and salt and pepper until combined. Set aside.
- Unwrap the thawed but still cold puff pastry and stack them on top of each other on a floured surface. I like to use a half-sheet size of parchment paper that will fit exactly into my half-sheet baking pan. Using this as a guide, I roll out the dough to fit the parchment paper. Do this quickly so the dough is still easy to separate from the two layers.
- Using a pairing knife or pizza wheel, cut both layers of the dough into a Christmas tree shape. I like to lightly score the center of the dough so I know where to begin the top of the tree. Then, cut out a trunk shape and remove the excess pastry. Save this as you will use it for the star at the top of the tree.
- Working quickly peel the top puff pastry layer from the tree and set aside.
- With the bottom layer of puff pastry remaining on the parchment paper, spread the cream cheese mixture on the tree, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2-inch border around the tree. Then spread the spinach over the cream cheese and top with mozzarella and parmesan. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if using.
- Take the second puff pastry layer and place it directly on top of the first pastry sheet. Line up the edges and press to seal the two sheets of pastry together.
- Starting on the right side of the widest part of the Christmas tree, cut a straight line with a pairing knife or pizza wheel from the edge of the tree to 1 inch from the center. Repeat cuts every 1 inch to the top of the tree and then repeat on the right side as well.
- At this point, I like to carefully lift the tree by the edges of the parchment paper and transfer to a half sheet size baking sheet.
- Carefully lift each pastry strip from the end and twist each strip away from yourself. I like to have 3 full twists on the bottom strips, with two twists near the top of the tree.
- Using the leftover pastry, cut a star shape from a single layer of pastry and place it at the top of the tree.
- Once all the strips have been twisted and the star placed, brush the surface with a beaten egg. You can also lightly coat the top of the tree with additional salt and pepper.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve with additional shredded cheese and pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 289mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g
31Daily.com occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although 31Daily.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.