Pistachio Olive Pesto Tarte Soleil

The seventh night has come much sooner than anticipated, or so say the kids. I agree. We took the holiday in stride, trying to focus on being together and doing things out of the ordinary. The first night was a chocolate gelt hunt around the house. Another night we took the kids for a walk around Geula and they picked out a toy. We also had a glow stick party that might have scared the baby to the point of trauma. Another night we visited my husband's grandparents and mine as well on a different night. Something we're both grateful we are able to do. Both grandmothers made sfinj. More importantly, we had dinner together around the table which sadly seldom happens on a weeknight given everyone's different schedule. There has been a lot of fried foods on said table. I think that means we're doing the holiday right.

It also means we're need of something simple and green that doesn't require babysitting the stovetop. This tarte soleil (literally sun tart) is something I saw here a while ago and it kept hovering in the back of my mind. It fits right into the holiday spirit. It looks beautiful, can be considered finger food that feeds a crowd, and is simple to put together. If you're really in a pinch, use store-bought pesto as the filling. I'll turn a blind eye. I love the particular combo of pistachio and olive alongside the basil and mint in this pesto. I'd grate some Pecorino too if you have a wedge lying in the fridge. It will add a nutty saltiness only hard cheese can contribute. For the dip, go with the whipped feta from the original recipe but if simple trumps all, you can do as I did and whip some ricotta cheese with a glug of olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. The solar shape is particularly fitting since you get to snack on little crunchy rays that are sure to brighten up your holiday more. Or at least give your guests something to nibble while you tend to flipping latkes, or donuts, or anything bathing in hot oil. Happy rest of Chanukah. 

Pistachio Olive Pesto Tarte Soleil


2lb. puff pastry, thawed in the fridge overnight

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

for the pesto,

3/4 cup shelled pistachios

1 cup pitted olives (any kind)

1 bunch basil leaves (about 20)

10-20 mint leaves (optional)

3 cloves garlic

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

to dip,

Ricotta cheese, sour cream, or whipped feta


In a chopper, process the pistachios, olives, basil, mint, garlic and olive oil until well blended. Set aside.

Cut the puff pastry into two 1 pound sections. Roll each section out and place a round 12 inch plate over the dough. Carefully cut around the plate to get a perfect circle. Repeat with the second dough.

Place 1 round onto a parchment lined baking sheet and preheat oven to 350F. Smear the pesto over the puff pastry, leaving a 1 inch border all around. Dab edge with water and place the second round over it, lightly pinching the edges to seal. At this point you can put the dough in the freezer for a few minutes to make cutting the slits easier.

Place a round cup or small bowl in the center of the pastry and using a sharp knife cut two slits vertically and horizontally. Rotate the pan and cut another two slits in between those you just cut. You should have 8 strips. Cut again for 16 strips and again for 32 strips.

Carefully twist each strip 4-5 times, holding it by the inner edge so it doesn’t break away. Brush the egg over the pastry and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slighty before transferring to a serving platter. Serve with dip of your choice.