If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know that this year we had our main Christmas dinner this year on Christmas Eve as we went to Geneva on Boxing Day and wanted a relaxed Christmas Day with leftovers to eat. For our main dinner I made Nigella’s fir tree Bundt cake which we had with berries and cream which someone managed to get totally scoffed so on Christmas Day when we fancied something sweet, I decided to use some puff pastry sheets that I had in the fridge to make us something chocolately for pudding.
Nutella Pastry Tree
- 2 ready made puff pastry sheets (I used Jus-Rol) but you could use home made if you can be bothered to make it!!
- 2 or 3 large tablespoons of Nutella
- Optional – some chopped nuts, almonds or hazlenuts would be good
- 1 beaten egg for the egg wash
- A baking sheet the size you are planning on cutting your tree too
- A pastry brush for your egg wash
- A spoon or palette knife for spreading the Nutella
- A star cutter or a sharp knife to free cut your star
- Start by preheating the oven to 180C. Cut both sheets of your pastry into a tree shape. If you are using ready made pastry like I did, it comes on a piece of greaseproof paper so I laid one on top of the other with the sheet in between and cut through top one which scored the one beneath it – this meant they were both the exact same shape. Also in one of the leftover sheets I cut the star using a cookie cutting that would be gracing the top of the tree. This is the shape it looked like once I’d finished cutting.
- Carefully remove all of the excess pastry. You won’t be needing this any more so you can wrap it up in cling film and use it for jam tarts or a couple of sausage rolls if you re-roll it. Put one of the sheets of pastry to one side, and put the one you’re about to work on onto the baking sheet and start spreading your Nutella out onto the remaining sheet. You may need all 3 tablespoons, you may only need 2. Be careful when you’re spreading it as you don’t want to stretch the pastry and also try not to get any on the greaseproof paper as it will burn when it goes in the oven and burnt chocolate doesn’t smell very nice.
- Once it’s all spread evenly, if you are using nuts, then now’s the time to add them. Sprinkle them over the top of the Nutella and then put the other layer of pastry over the top making sure it’s lined up with the bottom sheet.
- Once both layers are lined up, it’s time to cut the branches. I found it useful to start by doing a very light scoring parallel to the trunk at the bottom so I knew where I was cutting up to so they were aligned but you can freestyle if you prefer! Then cut strips about an inch thick as per the below pic.
- Then you can separate them and twist them! Twisting is the hardest bit as the pastry is started to come to room temperature by now so be gentle with the longer strips and you may need to give the very short ones a gentle tug to stretch them. There’s a little video below which hopefully gives you an indication of how to twist them if you’re struggling but you should aim to get two twists on the longer ones. Once you’re finished twisting all the branches, add the star to the top and then put it in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 mins. You could also make it the day before if you want to get ahead of yourself if you’re making it for breakfast or for a dinner party pudding.
- Take it out of the fridge and egg wash the whole thing, making sure you’re getting into all the nooks and crannies – you want to have a good shine on the whole thing!
- Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes – don’t get distracted as puff pastry has a tendency to catch and burn very quickly. It seems to go from raw to burnt in the blink of an eye! You can always leave it for a couple more minutes if it still looks pale.
- Once it’s a nice golden brown colour, take it out of the oven and leave to cool for as long as you can before tearing the branches off and scoffing them whilst it’s still warm. Good luck waiting and not burning your tongue on one!!