If appetizers could greet you, this one would say “Hey, y’all!” I was inspired to create something party worthy with the Strawberry Jalapeño Smucker’s Fruit & Honey spread I found in my December Degustabox. (If you aren’t familiar with Degustabox, read my rundown here and click here if you want to try it for yourself for half off + free shipping!) I already had some PB&J thumbprint cookies on my mind, which you’ll see the recipe for next week, but didn’t think strawberry jalapeno would be the best flavor profile for them. Then I thought of making one of those cheese balls I had tasted at office parties in the past but…I don’t really make or serve those and didn’t want to share something here that wouldn’t actually come out of my kitchen in real life. Do I get any points for transparency? I finally landed on something with puff pastry and, of course, Pinterest helped me decide on the idea of a braid. Obviously, sweet and spicy flavors would come from the fruit spread but “What about savory? And texture?” I thought. Then I thought “Duh, girl: bacon! And pecans!” And that, folks, is a snippet of my typical thought process. My elders might say I’m a little touched. I would just say, creative. 🙂 Think Issa Rae’s fire bars when she’s getting ready in the bathroom mirror…except my thoughts don’t rhyme. But let’s get back on track. Looking at the ingredients, I realized that, although it looks a little French and fancy, this pastry braid will scream “TEXAS” in your mouth when you taste it. Hence, the name. With just ten more days til Christmas, it’s holiday crunch time and I am [hopefully] sharing this in enough time for you to add it to your party foods lineup for Christmas or New Year’s but, if not, it’s quite good at any time of year or day. I think this would be just as fabulous for breakfast or brunch as it would be for an evening appetizer. Just add some OJ and you’re pretty much set. Also, please do not let appearances fool you. Although it’s pretty to look at, this bundle of deliciousness is beyond easy to make! No gourmet tools or hard-to-find ingredients are required here. Don’t believe me? Just watch…or scroll to see the whole process, which takes just about 30 minutes. I timed it.
What are you cooking up for the holidays? Let me know below. Thanks for reading!
- 2 sheets puff pastry found in the grocer's frozen section
- 4 tablespoons strawberry jalapeno fruit spread
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 3 slices bacon or turkey bacon cooked and crumbled
- 1 tablespoon milk or cream optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Thaw the puff pastry and unfold both sheets onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Line them up end to end and press the edges together in order to form one, very long sheet of puff pastry.
Leaving about 2 inches of space from either end of the pastry, place spoonfuls of the cream cheese lengthwise down the middle of the puff pastry. Then add the bacon, pecans, and fruit spread. Be sure to maintain the 2 inch space between the ends of the pastry dough and the filling. This will make it easier to fold and braid up the dough later.
On either side of the filling, cut the puff pastry into diagonal strips about 2 inches down and three inches across. The pastry sheets typically come folded in thirds and the creases from those folds are a good guide for where to start cutting your strips.
Fold the strips over the filing, alternating from one side to the next to form a braid pattern.
Fold up the ends of the braid and squeeze them together. The pastry will puff up while baking, so this helps keep the contents from spilling out.
If desired, brush the top of the dough with milk or cream. This helps give it a nice color. Bake for about 24 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden in color.
Cut into three-inch pieces and serve warm.
Recipe by Jazzmine of Dash of Jazz
In partnership with Degustabox. As always, all opinions are my own.