Painted Pie Crust Leaves and a Pumpkin Cheese Ball


 Painted Pastry Leaves are a fun way to add a little fall flourish and are easy to make with refrigerated piecrust, food coloring, and cookie cutters!


You can use them to embellish and decorate sweet or savory foods or even dress up a store-bought pie or dessert with these colorful cookie cutter leaves for Thanksgiving!


I ran across this fun idea for painted pastry leaves in Southern Living Magazine several years ago and used them to embellish a cheese ball, but didn’t share the how-to part. You need a brush and food coloring to tint your egg wash along with some pastry/cookie cutters.


I used food safe brushes from Wilton that you can find where cake decorating supplies are sold. I found mine at Michaels.


I have a couple of sets of spring-loaded fall leaf design pastry cutters that I found at Williams-Sonoma. The spring-loaded cutters punch the vein details of the leaves in the pie dough or you can use cookie cutters and freehand the veins, scoring them with the tip of a knife.


Unfold your piecrusts on a lightly floured surface, then cut your shapes and leaves using your cutters. One (15-ounce) package of refrigerated piecrusts will make about 24 (2- to 3-inch) leaves. To make the tinted egg wash, I whisked together 2 large eggs and 2 tablespoons water, then divided the egg wash among 4 small cups, tinting each with a few drops of food coloring, to mix my colors~ orange, yellow, green and brown.


For easy cleanup and to prevent the excess egg wash from burning on the baking sheet, I painted the cut outs on a piece of wax paper before transferring them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush leaves evenly with egg wash, beginning with lighter colors first, then adding areas of darker color. Bake your leaves at 400° for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Gently remove leaves, and cool completely on a wire rack.


To give your leaves a more natural shape, place them on crumpled aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick spray before baking to give them some dimension.


I used a recipe from Southern Living for the pumpkin cheese ball adding a mixture of cream cheese and chives to mimic the green flecks in the white rind of a tiger striped pumpkin. I added cheddar cheese to the outside of the cheese ball to create the ribs and a pretzel rod stem before adding the pastry leaves.


Pumpkin Cheese Ball, recipe adapted from Southern Living

(16-oz.) Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese blend, shredded

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese with chives, softened

2 (4-oz.) goat cheese logs, softened

Additional chopped chives

Cheddar cheese for ribs of pumpkin

Pretzel rod for stem


Stir together cheeses and chives. Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth pumpkin’s entire surface with metal spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, using your fingertips. Apply Cheddar cheese in grooves to resemble pumpkin ribs and smooth. Press pretzel into top of cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin stem.

Embellish will your painted pie crust leaves and serve.



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Pumpkin Cheese Ball with Painted Pastry Leaves

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  32 comments for “Painted Pie Crust Leaves and a Pumpkin Cheese Ball

  1. Sherlie Magaret
    November 11, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Those are really festive and what a cute addition to the cheese ball done up like a pumpkin, I love it.

  2. Sue
    November 11, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Wow Mary!!!! The leaves and other cutouts are adorable. I wonder if Williams Sonoma still has these for sale. I will have to check. So much easier than a regular cookie cutter. Thanks again for the inspiration!! Have a great day. xoxo

  3. Ellen Stillabower
    November 11, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Sooooo cute!! Looks to be really easy!! This can also be done with your cut out Christmas cookies!! Thank you for sharing!! 🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂

  4. Kathi
    November 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    This is a beautiful presentation. I just may have to get out my “toys” and play with some food myself!!! Thank you for sharing. Yummy Yummy

  5. Betty Sparrow
    November 11, 2015 at 8:48 am

    This is a great one, Thanks!

  6. November 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I must try this, Mary! I have the spring loaded pastry cutters and I’m so like you in loving to play in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing your techniques with us. My grands would certainly love doing this, too, but I need to buy some food safe paint brushes. This would be fun to do with sugar cookies,also, I’m thinking.

  7. November 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Very clever Mary! Your tasty pumpkin looks just like the real mini but yummier. The crust is my favorite part of a pie so these leaves would really be a treat on a cheese platter! Linda

  8. Leslie
    November 11, 2015 at 9:06 am

    These look amazing! You could even do them to decorate your Holiday pies. I have all the items needed. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea!

  9. November 11, 2015 at 9:08 am

    How FUN!!! Mary, I’ve had those WS leaf cutters for years & only used them for cookies. Brilliant idea to color pie crust cutouts. I can’t wait to make some since I know Ms. C LOVES pumpkin pie! She wouldn’t touch the cheese ball though. LOL
    Thanks for sharing how you did both ideas!


    p.s. My red goblets are arriving tomorrow! I am SO glad you shared them & I got 20% off the already sale price! Yay!

    • November 12, 2015 at 8:05 am

      What fun Rett! Enjoy your new goblets :)

  10. November 11, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I love this! Might have to make as a hostess gift for Thanksgiving!

  11. November 11, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Oh good, now I can paint my food!! I’ve always loved your tiger pumpkin cheese ball Mary, and I tried to recreate it once, but it didn’t turn out nearly as cute as yours~ I needed painted leaves! So cute and fun!

    • November 12, 2015 at 8:06 am

      That’s probably the only thing you haven’t painted Jenna :)

  12. November 11, 2015 at 11:47 am

    This is so incredibly creative! Love it. I’d love to see you make a Christmas one too. Thanks for sharing.

  13. November 11, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    I made this too but bought an orange pepper. Used the pepper stem as my pumpkin stem and made long slices horizontally from the pepper to embellish down the sides of the cheese ball. So cute. As always-you’re the best.

  14. Michelle
    November 11, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Love the leaves! Great idea! The cheese ball looks pretty good too. I will have to give it a try!

  15. November 11, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Looks like the perfect DIY fall project. Love how you’ve connected craft ideas with food! :)

  16. November 11, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Very pretty! Your pumpkin cheeseball turned out great Mary and the painted leaves are the perfect touch:@)

  17. November 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    I have a different recipe for a pumpkin shaped cheeseball, I will share it! Loved these leaves when I first saw you do them. Thanks for the info:) I am having a small party Sat. so will make the cheeseball too. After that all the Fall will get put away to prep for Christmas:):) PS, I usually use the end of a broccoli stalk for the pumpkin stem.

  18. Donna
    November 11, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    YUM! Beautiful AND savory. Can’t wait to try this. Question, do you use paste, gel or liquid food coloring? Thank you so much!!

    • November 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Donna, I used liquid but I’m sure all would work :)

  19. November 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I have been wanting to try that “paint” and you have inspired me to do so!….Beautiful leaves and just love that amazing Cheese Ball….Have a great day Mary!

  20. rattlebridge
    November 14, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    You are a genius!

  21. November 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    so many of your pics have been permanently emblazed on my brian, i love it when they make repeat performances for your new masses :-) and for us old ones to resavor~

  22. November 17, 2015 at 12:54 am

    OMG. This is so much fun! I like to use food for crafts also. Why not? Food supplies are readily available and then family gets to eat the results. It’s a win win! But painting the leaves? Oh, that looks like so much fun. I have to try that. I stumbled and pinned this also. Linda @Crafts a la mode

  23. December 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Love this post.

  24. November 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    My kids and I have always done the painted pastries on our pies. The color sticks better if you let the pastry sit for an hour or so after cutting them so the surface dries out a little bit. Then mix food coloring with a tablespoon of milk and paint away. Let them sit another 30 min to soak in and dry then place them on top of your pie and bake. You still get a great crust. We paint the turkey feathers and such, as well as, leaves.

  25. November 12, 2018 at 9:13 am

    This is a lovely recipe, thank you for the detailed recipe.

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