If you spent any time visiting me you know I like to play with my food! 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.
You can find a printable recipe here.