Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Nutella Christmas Tree

A friend of ours in The South of France made one of these and we loved it. We're making one for our Christmas Eve Dinner.
I hope that I can explain the directions so you'll understand the way the Tree is created.  I photographed the process an for our first time making one, it turned out really well. It's a clever treat for Christmas. Only the French could come up with a pastry like this!

2 layers of dough.

Second layer of Nutella.

Third layer of dough.

Last layer of Nutella.

4th and final layer of dough.

Use clear ruler and just score along the trunk
as a guideline for cutting the branches.

Cut 1" branches all the way through the dough at 1" intervals.

Twist the branches two times starting at the bottom.
As you work your way up to the shorter branches, twist the dough once.

Here's what you'll need:
A Large Sheet Pan
Parchment Paper
1 Jar of Nutella, slightly warmed to make it spreadable.

Dough Ingredients:
3 1/2 C Bread Flour
1/3 C Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1 C Warm Milk
2 Egg Yolks,  keep the Whites, you'll need them. Whisk the Whites in a small bowl with a bit of milk for the Egg wash just before you pop it in the oven.
1 oz. Butter softened.

Put all of the Dough ingredients in a large mixing Bowl.
Mix well with a blending fork and then your hands.
The dough will be very sticky.
Knead it on a flat surface for about 10 minutes.
Add a bit more warm milk if the dough appears to be too dry.

Rub 1 TBS of Vegetable Oil in a glass bowl.
Add the Dough Ball.
Cover with Plastic Wrap.
Put it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Remove the Dough to a flat surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
Use 1 piece at a time on a lightly floured surface.
Use a rolling Pin to roll out the dough into a large, thin triangular shape.
As you roll it, stretch it into the triangle shape.
Trim the bottom of the triangle to create a trunk about 3" - 4" long X 2" wide.
At this point you should have a shape that resembles a tree with a trunk at the bottom.
(To make the remaining shapes, it helps to make a template from a piece of Parchment Paper to use as a guide.) This will be based on the size of the first tree shape you make.

Gently transfer the tree shape to a piece of Parchment Paper that's been cut to the size of your Sheet Pan.
Spread a thin layer of warmed Nutella over the entire surface of the tree, including the trunk.
Set this aside.

Take the second piece of Dough and repeat the exact same procedure , cutting another tree shape exactly the same size as the first one.
Gently transfer it on to the top of the first tree.
Spread it with a thin layer of Nutella.

Make the third shape and repeat, placing it on top of the second layer and spread it with Nutella.

Make the fourth and final tree shape and gently place it on top of the others.
Gently smooth out the tree with a rolling pin.
Trim the sides and the trunk to create a perfect tree shape, using a sharp paring knife.

Use the paring knife and gently score a perforated line all the way up the tree using the outside edges of the trunk as a guide. Do not cut through the dough.

Beginning at the bottom of the tree, make a cut 1" from the bottom of the tree on both sides of the trunk that you just scored. Just cut up to the scored line.
Continue cutting 1" strips until you reach the top of the Tree.

You've now created the branches of the Tree.
Twist each branch 2 turns. As you get up to the smaller branches just twist once.
Transfer the Tree on the Parchment Paper to the Sheet Pan.
Cover with a Damp Kitchen Towel for 40 minutes.
Brush the entire tree with an Egg Wash using the Egg Whites that have been whisked with a bit of milk. Sprinkle the ends of the branches with Sanding Sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove pan to a rack to cool completely.
Transfer to a serving platter and dust with confectioner's sugar.

Peace in the Kitchen!

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