Any festive meal looks impressive when it has beautiful appetizers but, above all, I prefer them to be simple, quick and interesting. An appetizer with lots of details will take a lot of time and effort when everyone is actually waiting for the main courses and the dessert. What I really liked about this appetizer pie was the way it's being assembled. I thought I should make the filling with ham and cheese, but you can adapt it to your taste (sweet, as well!) - keep only the cheese or replace with a different sauce. The only condition is not to have thick layers, which only makes the pie difficult to handle. It's simple because you just have to thaw the dough and get to work, you don't have to knead!
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Thaw the puff pastry beforehand, then place on the table sprinkled with flour and cut into 2 equal pieces.
Roll out each half with the rolling pin into 2 sheets about the same size as the tray in which you will bake the pie.
Now take the first sheet, ideally place on parchment paper (I forgot and did it later).
Scoop some tomato sauce in the middle of the sheet.
Now take a brush and think back to your painting classes at school :)
Carefully, draw the outline of a fir tree and spread the tomato sauce evenly inside. In the video, you can see this step in more detail.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the tomato sauce, without crossing the outline.
Then arrange the slices of ham as to look like a kind of lego-fir tree.
Enclose with the second sheet of dough, press the edges carefully to highlight the outline of the tree.
I moved the pie onto baking paper just now but this should be done from the beginning!
Now cut out the extra dough with a knife, precisely on the edges of the fir tree.
Lie a strip of (parchment) paper along the axis of the tree, about 2cm wide - this will help the tree look evenly at the end.
Cut branches about 1cm wide.
It's easier to cut the branches evenly if you use the paper tape to guide you.
Now twist them carefully, about 2-3 times each, and lightly press the edges down.
This is what the pie looks like in the end.
It's nice to cut out a star from the remaining dough and fix it on top.
Brush the pie with egg wash and prick the middle with a fork - to prevent the pastry from puffing out too much while baking.
Carefully transfer the tree onto the baking tray. It's easy because it's on baking paper, just pull it up lightly.
Decorate on top with slices of cherry tomatoes and, maybe, sliced olives.
Place in the preheated oven at 200C and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until nicely browned.
Here you can also see the one with olives, it's a bit more colorful.
It's very good when it's warm, but also cold. Each of us breaks a branch from the pie, which makes it also easy to serve.
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