2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed arugula leaves
¼ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese
½ cup olive oil
salt & pepper
1 package puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1 large egg, beaten 1-tablespoon water
2T sesame seeds
1. For pesto: In a bowl of a food processor with the motor running, add the, garlic and the walnuts and pulse until well chopped.
2. Add the arugula and process until chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the cheese and pulse until combined.
4. With machine running, slowly add the olive oil.
5. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
6. Place a piece of parchment on your counter; spread one of the puff pastry sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry into a 14x11inch rectangle (use a little flour if it sticks). Set on a baking sheet. Place in refrigerator while rolling out the other pastry sheet.
7. Spread the pesto onto 1 rolled sheet of the pastry sheet.
8. Top with other pastry sheet.
9. Cut out the shape of a Christmas tree out of the dough.
10. On each side, cut 11 stripes a ½ inch wide leaving a center column.
11. Carefully twist each strip. Place tree in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to have the dough chill. This can be prepared 6 hours in advance.
12. Place the scrapes on a parchment lined baking sheet and cut and twist it as in step 10 and 11 to create a little tree.
13. Pre-heat the oven 400° F.
14. Remove from the refrigerator and brush very well with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
15. Place in 400° F oven for 15- 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, and then carefully slide off parchment onto a serving platter.
16. Serve immediately, having guest pull/ rip off the tree branches.
To roast nuts: preheat oven 350º F. Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Shake the pan and continue baking until nuts are toasted, about 3-5 minutes more. Let them cool. The roasted nuts can be store in an airtight container for weeks.
TIPS & TRICKS
• This fun whimsical recipe is a great centerpiece for your holiday entertaining.
It can assemble the morning of your party and is best baked right before serving.
• I like to serve it on a cutting board them people can break off the branches and cut up the “trunk”.
• From the scrape pieces of puff pastry that are left after cutting out the “big” tree. Makes a cute little Charlie Brown style Christmas tree. ☺
• To make a sweet treat substitute the pesto for nutella.