Impress guests with a savoury centrepiece for your holiday feast
CHRISTMAS wreaths are quite a sight to behold, especially when displayed at the front door.
And it has become quite a tradition to bring the wreath to the dinner table in the form of a baked centrepiece.
It is essentially a circle of bread, pastry or cookie and can be made with any sweet or savoury filling of your choice.
However, it should be one that can sit at the table without the need to be reheated or kept chilled so that guests can amble around the table to admire your handiwork before the feasting begins.
I’ve chosen one that uses puff pastry to create the wreath and filled it with sauteed mushrooms and onions to wrap around cream cheese. You may substitute the cheese with other varieties such as brie, fresh mozzarella or even Stilton.
This meat-free dish caters to my vegetarian guests so that they will have a substantial dish to fill up on.
But if your diners do not have any dietary restrictions, then you can add bacon into the mushroom filling.
The one element that gives this dish the Christmas vibe is the cranberry sauce. It is a jelly-like preserve that resembles jam and is usually available in jars during this time of year at supermarkets.
If you wish to prepare this dish at other times, you may substitute with other jams or even omit it altogether.
Because of the limited oven size at the test kitchen, I was unable to make a big wreath so this recipe makes two smaller wreaths instead and all the ingredients are halved for each wreath.
However, if you have an oven that can accommodate a 45cm baking sheet, then you should be able to craft a sizable wreath to grace your holiday table.
Cheesy mushroom wreath
3 sheets puff pastry dough
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
400g cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 bulb yellow onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
180g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
150g cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt to taste
¼ tsp black pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
2 tbsp milk for glazing
Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil and butter until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 250°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each sheet of puff pastry dough into eight triangles.
Arrange 12 triangles in a pinwheel pattern with a bit of overlap on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough on the other baking sheet.
Spread cranberry sauce on dough, then fill with half of the mushrooms and half of the cheese on each pinwheel. Sprinkle all over with parsley and rosemary, then fold the triangular tips of the dough over the filling and tuck under the base to secure.
Brush the dough with milk and sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy and golden. Cut into wedges with kitchen shears to serve hot or cold.