The perfect Christmas dessert! This easy and pretty Nutella Puff Pastry Christmas Tree is so flaky and buttery, with the sweet hazelnut-chocolate flavor of Nutella and just a tiny bit of salt. It’s the perfect pull-apart sweet treat for the holidays!
A Fun and Festive Christmas Dessert
Baking with puff pastry is such a treat! This easy-to-find, store bought dough is such a breeze to work with, and bakes up perfectly puffy and golden every time, with tender crumb and flaky layers.
Paired with sweet, smooth Nutella and a little pinch of salt, it’s a dreamy combination that’s sure to have everyone reaching for another piece.
To make this special puff pastry Christmas tree, all you have to do is cut out a big triangle of dough—two triangles, actually, so you can sandwich the delicious Nutella filling in between!
Next, you’ll cut the sides of the triangles into strips, and give each strip a twist to showcase the filling and bake up into pretty “branches.” Once the tree is baked, branch is easy to pull away from the tree, making the perfect party snack!
Is Puff Pastry the Same as Phyllo Dough?
You might be wondering if puff pastry and phyllo dough are interchangeable, and while they are both readily available store-bought doughs, they are very different!
On one hand, puff pastry is a rich, buttery dough with lots of layers, and as it bakes, it “puffs” almost like croissant dough.
Phyllo, on the other hand, is paper-thin dough that doesn’t really rise when baked. It turns crisp and crackly when baked, and is often used to make baklava.
Ingredients for This Chocolatey Treat
So just what do you need to make a gorgeous puff pastry masterpiece? Only five simple ingredients, and a little bit of time. Here’s the skinny:
For the Christmas Tree
- Nutella: A little goes a long way, so you only need a few tablespoons of this rich and nutty chocolate spread to make the perfect puff pastry tree. It should be at room temperature.
- Salt: A pinch of salt accentuates the flavor, and it also adds contrast.
- Puff Pastry: Thaw frozen, store-bought puff pastry dough until pliable.
- Egg: Beat the egg with a little bit of water, so that you will have a quick egg wash for brushing on the tree.
- Confectioners Sugar: Have a little confectioner’s sugar for dusting on the tree.
For the (Optional) Nutella Dip
- More Nutella: Again, have the Nutella at room temperature, so it’s easy to spread.
- Coarse Salt: A shake of coarse salt makes a pretty decoration that tastes great!
How to Make a Nutella Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
This recipe is a snap to pull together, and really kind of fun! Once you make it, you’ll fall in love with this simple, rewarding technique.
- Prep the Oven and Filling. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, stir the Nutella and salt (for the pastry, not the dip) together with a spoon. Set the salted Nutella aside.
- Cut the Christmas Tree Shape Out of the Puff Pastry. Lay out two sheets of puff pastry on a large piece of parchment paper. Place one sheet directly on top of the other, so that your pieces will match when you cut them. Next, using a small, sharp knife, lightly score a triangle shape into the dough. You may need to score it several times to get a good, even triangle, so do not score it very deeply. Once you’re happy with the shape, cut the excess puff pastry away, and set it aside for later use.
- Fill the Tree. Remove the top triangle of dough, and use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to spread the salted Nutella on the bottom triangle. Leave a small border (about ¼ inch) around the edges. Next, lay the other triangle of puff pastry back on top.
- Score the “Trunk.” Lightly score two lines down the center of the triangle, so that you create a “tree trunk” about half an inch wide. Do not cut these lines; they are just guides for making the branches.
- Cut the “Branches.” To make the branches, cut horizontally through the pastry, starting at the bottom of the triangle. Begin from the scored guidelines, and cut all the way through the outer edges of the triangle. Your cuts should be about ¾ inches apart, making ¾-inch strips on both sides of the “tree trunk.”
- Twist. Gently twist each “branch” several times, turning them away from you, until all of the branches are twisted
- Add the Base. Use leftover puff pastry to make two small rectangles, about 1×2 inches. Spread a little Nutella between the rectangles, and then sandwich them together to make a base for the tree. Tuck this rectangle into the base of the tree.
- Prepare to Bake. Before baking, transfer the tree to a baking sheet by carefully holding the edges of the parchment paper, and lifting the tree along with the paper onto a baking sheet. Next, cut away any parchment hangs over the edges of the baking sheet, trim it away with a knife or your kitchen scissors. Brush the tree all over with egg wash.
- Bake! Bake the tree for 15 minutes, or until it is golden-brown, and the pastry is puffed up.
- Cool. Transfer the baked puff pastry Christmas tree to a cooling rack. Once it has cooled, sift confectioners sugar evenly over the top for a pretty decoration.
- Make the Dip (Optional) For the optional dip, just spoon Nutella into a small serving or dip bowl. Use the back of a spoon to make a swirl in the Nutella, and then sprinkle it with the coarse salt.
My Favorite Tips
Before you start assembling your wreath, take a look at these helpful hints. You’ll be working with puff pastry like a pro! Promise!
- Thaw It Right. If you are using frozen puff pastry dough, ensure that it is thawed and pliable. If the dough is still slightly frozen, it may break while you are twisting the tree branches. However, if too soft, and it will be hard to handle.
- Use a Paring Knife (or Similar). Using a small knife, you will have more precision and control.
- Patch Things Up. Made a mistake? No problem! Just use extra puff pastry to patch up any accidental tears or cuts. The egg wash will help seal it together while it bakes.
Nutella is just the beginning! If you’d like to take it in a different direction, you can make this Christmas tree with all kinds of yummy fillings. Try one of these:
- Prepared spinach-artichoke dip
- Pimiento cheese spread
- Jam or jelly of choice
- Basil pesto
- Ham and havarti slices
- Pepperoni, mozzarella, and pizza sauce
… or anything else that you love. The sky’s the limit!
Make It in Advance
- This dish is best served immediately, but if you’d like to make it in advance, it can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
- To reheat, cover it with foil and bake at 250°F for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can follow the steps to shape the tree, but leave it unbaked. Then place it on your baking sheet, and cover the whole thing with plastic wrap. Finally, store in the fridge for up to two days, and bake it on the day of. Easy!
Storing the Leftovers (If There Are Any!)
- If you end up with leftovers (I mean, it’s unlikely, but possible) store any leftovers, just wrap them well or cover tightly, and keep at room temperature for up to five days.
Nutella Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
For the Pastry
For the Dip (Optional)
- ¼ cup Nutella, room temperature
- Pinch of coarse salt
- Mix the Nutella and salt for the pastry together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, lay out the sheets of puff pastry dough, one directly on top of the other.
- With a small, sharp knife, lightly score a triangle shape into the dough. Once you are happy with the shape, cut away the remaining puff pastry and set it aside for later use.
- Remove the top triangle of dough and set it aside. Spread the Nutella evenly on the bottom triangle, leaving about ¼ inch around the edges. Replace the top triangle of pastry.
- Lightly score two lines down the middle of the tree, to create a ½ inch thick “tree trunk.” Do not cut these lines; they are just guides.
- Starting from the base of the triangle, make the branches by cutting horizontally through the pastry, starting at the scored guidelines, and going all the way through to the outer edge of the triangle. Continue cutting lines ¾ inches apart, to make ¾ inch strips on both sides of the “tree trunk,” until you are about one inch away from the top.
- Gently twist each branch away from you, 2-4 times, until all of the branches are twisted
- Using the leftover puff pastry, cut two small rectangles, about 1×2 inches. Spread Nutella between the two rectangles, and sandwich them together. Tuck this rectangle into the base of the tree.
- Gently lift the edges of the parchment paper to transfer the paper along with the tree onto a baking sheet. If any parchment hangs over the edges of the baking sheet, trim it away with clean kitchen scissors. Lightly brush the top of the pastry with the egg and water mixture.
- Bake the tree at 400°F for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and the pastry is puffed up.
- Transfer the baked puff pastry Christmas tree to a cooling rack. Once it has cooled, sift confectioners sugar evenly over the top.
- For the optional dip, simply swirl the Nutella into a small dip bowl, and sprinkle it with coarse salt.
- Serve immediately.