Learn how to make a classic French appetizer known as a Tarte Au Soleil. A great appetizer idea for holiday entertaining made with store-bought puff pastry.
This is one of my favorite Puff Pastry Recipes for holiday entertaining because it’s so easy to make, but looks so impressive! Guests are always WOWed by the presentation.
What is a Tarte Au Soleil?
A Tarte au Soleil is a fun French appetizer made with a savory filling and puff pastry. The pastry is sliced and twisted to create a large rounded tart that once baked, resembles a giant sun. Hence the name “sun tart”. My French relatives say it originated in the South of France where sunshine and pesto sauce are both plentiful!
It’s served as a savory nibble during the French cocktail hour, or Apero, as it’s affectionately called in France, which can go on for several hours! So having something filling to nibble on is always a great idea!
Despite its impressive design, it’s actually quite easy to make! All you need is some store-bought puff pastry and jarred pesto sauce. Seriously that’s all there is to it folks! It all comes down to slicing and twisting of the pastry sheets.
This is why I love puff pastry recipes for the holidays! It does all the work for you and can make the simplest recipes into something so fancy! For a similar wow factor with puff pastry try my Sticky Buns, Mini Ham and Cheese Croissants or my French Apple Pastries for Christmas morning breakfast.
Watch my Tarte au Soleil Video Demo Below!
STEP#1: Cut the Puff Pastry Sheets
Roll out the puff pastry sheet to remove any seams. The seams can force the pastry to crack in places that will disrupt your design, so best to roll those out first.
Place it on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. It helps if the baking sheet is flat, without a rim. This will allow your tarte au soleil to slide off easily after it’s baked. Place a 10-12″ dinner plate on top of the pastry and cut out a circle.
STEP#2: Fill with Pesto
Then spread the pesto on the round, leaving a 1-inch border, then place a second puff pastry round on top. Pesto is a classic filling for a Tarte au Soleil, but you really can fill them with anything you like.
Other Fillings for Tarte Au Soleil
- Nutella topped with powdered sugar for a fun dessert idea
- Raspberry Jam and Cream Cheese for a Brunch
- Olive Tapenade
- Sundried Tomato Paste and Parmesean
STEP#3: Score and Twist the Pastry
Ok this is where a little skill comes in, but really it isn’t hard just takes a bit of pre-planning!
Create the Center
First, take a juice glass and place it in the center. This will be the center of your “sunflower design” and will help to line up the rays.
Before cutting the individual rays, create 4 equal quadrants. This will help to keep the single rays equally-sized since you will only slice them in each quadrant, as opposed to trying to slice the rays free-hand around the full circle.
Slice the Rays
Then slice the rays. You will get between 3-4 rays per quadrant, depending upon how big your puff pastry round is.
Twist the Rays
Here’s the fun part! Twist each ray, twice, being careful not to twist the pastry “off” make sure it stays affixed to the center round. Then flatten down the end part to the parchment paper.
Brush with Egg Wash
Then gently brush the tarte with a beaten egg. This will help keep the pastry together while also delivering a beautiful shine once it’s baked. You can then choose to add sesame seeds in the center to create the look of a sunflower.
STEP#5: Bake and Serve
Bake the tarte at 400F for 20-25 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.
Once the tart is done you can serve it on a big cutting board and guests serve themselves by twisting off the rays! It’s a great appetizer for an open house because it tastes great hot or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead Tip: The tart can be made the day before, just cover lightly with parchment paper and leave it in the freezer or fridge. When it comes time to serve, bake immediately no need to thaw first.
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- 2 sheets puff pastry, cut into large 10” (25 cm) circles
- 3 tbsp (45ml) store-bought pesto OR Nutella for a dessert version
- 1 egg, beaten
- sesame seeds if desired
- Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
- Roll out pastry. Place a dinner plate down and cut out a circle. Transfer circle to a rimless baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place pesto in the middle of the circle and spread over the pastry leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) border, all the way around pastry circle.
- Place 2nd circle on top.
- Place small juice glass in the center of the circle to create an indentation. Remove glass.
- Cut pastry into four quarters, keep the center intact as a circle.
- Then go into each quadrant and cut then in half then quarters this will create 4 slices per quadrant and create even “rays” around your tart. Place tray in the freezer for 5 mins just to firm up a bit to make it easier to twist the rays.
- Then twist each ray with a 2-turn twist, allowing the tail to lay flat. Once all the twists are made pop the tray back in the freezer for 5 mins, this will make it easier to brush the egg wash on.
- Brush beaten egg on the tart. Sprinkle center of the tart with sesame seeds. Place in the freezer for 5 mins to firm up. This will help the sun keep its shape as it hits the hot oven
- Bake tart for 20-25 mins until golden brown and puffed up. Serve on cutting board and invite guests to twist off the rays!
This whole thing can be done the day before, cover lightly with parchment paper and leave in freezer or fridge and when it comes time to serve, bake immediately no need to thaw first.
For other variations try:
- goat cheese and tapenade
- Cream cheese and jam
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 5g