Treccia di salmone e formaggio – smoked salmon and cheese puff pastry braid

Treccia di salmone e formaggio
The perfect starter

It is often the most simple things that give us the biggest pleasure. (Okay, that may be a controversial statement – feel free to disagree!) This treccia di salmone e formaggio is just that: very easy to make, three ingredients and ready in 25 minutes. In return you get a starter that is absolutely delicious, one of which anyone lucky enough to be served it will want to have more and more.

I am head over heels in love with puff pastry (and that is not an overstatement), not to mention cheese and smoked salmon. If you bring these three ingredients together, I can assure you you will experience an explosion of goodness: real fireworks for your tastebuds… Yum!

Needless to say this treccia di salmone e formaggio is not your everyday go-to meal, as it is rather rich. However if you are into puff pastry parcels as a starter for your dinner parties, forget those and give this treccia a go.

You won’t regret it. There is something sublime in the way the puff pastry hugs the cheese and the salmon. They are perfectly entangled. In a puff pastry parcel you have the case and then the filling in the middle, which can get a bit messy: you end up with either too much puff pastry in your mouth or too much filling without enough puff pastry. Somehow something doesn’t work out.

But not with this.

Treccia di formaggio e salmone
Born to impress

Everything is perfectly balanced. And preparing it is a piece of cake.

I had a good time teaching my wonderful nephew Sasà how to make it for our family Easter meal. Smoked salmon is a must-have on these occasions and given how much everyone loved it, I think this treccia di salmone e formaggio will be making a regular appearance at Easter.

Having seen how busy my mum and I were on Saturday evening, Sasà volunteered to help… Perfect, I thought! But I think I misunderstood his offer. I am pretty confident he was actually volunteering to help “test” the ingredients!

A lot of the cheese and salmon seemed to end up in his mouth instead of the treccia and he could not help giggling. What a cheeky monkey.

I let him believe I hadn’t seen what he was doing, but then questioned him at the end as to why we only had half the quantity of cheese… These youngsters! Other than that, he did a good job at mixing the cheeses together and adding the salmon, too. I have to say – there is nothing quite like bonding with your family over preparing a meal. It is so very special. These are the moments I truly treasure when I go back home.

Treccia di salmone e formaggio
Young chefs in training…

Ingredients for treccia di salmone e formaggio

Serves 4-6

  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • around half a (250g) packet of stracchino cheese (or any cheese that has a similar consistency to dolce latte blue cheese, to give you an idea of what stracchino is like in terms of texture)
  • around half a (280g) tub of Philadelphia
  • 120g smoked salmon (replace with cooked mushrooms or spinach if you need a vegetarian option)
  • chives (optional)

For the brushing

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 40ml milk

Method

In a bowl add the two cheeses and mix them well with a fork until they are both well incorporated. Do not worry too much about removing all lumps.

Lay out the slices of smoked salmon on a plate, ready to use.

Unroll the puff pastry, leaving the oven sheet underneath. Place it on a baking tray.

Draw a rectangle with the knife to mark the area in which you are going to place the filling, leaving some space outside all the edges.

With a fork, gently puncture the puff pastry sheet all over, making sure you do not go through to the other side of the sheet. Keep the punctures light.

Spread a layer of cheese with a knife over the puff pastry, making sure you you don’t go over the lines you drew.

Distribute the slices of salmon evenly across the surface. At this point you can sprinkle some chives, if you wish.

Roll up the pastry on the long side. It’s easiest if you push the pastry using the sheet.

Cut your roll in two lengthways and then twist it, as in the video below.

Mix the egg with the milk and brush the surface.

Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

In the meantime preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Or simply follow the instructions on the packet of your chosen puff pastry.

Take the treccia out of the fridge and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 20-30 minutes, but check halfway through to make sure it is not getting too brown. It will be ready when the pastry turns nicely golden.

It is worth checking the bottom is well cooked as puff pastry can easily turn out to be uncooked underneath (soggy bottom!).

Let rest for a few minutes. Then cut in slices and place on a serving dish if used as part of a buffet menu or a more casual meal.

If used for a dinner party, add each slice on a plate, on a bet of rocket or other green leaves. If you want to make it look prettier, add some colour with one or two lemon wedges or your favourite salad dressing.

This treccia di salmone e formaggio will wow your friends!

Slice of treccia di salmone e stracchino
A starter that brings joy to tastebuds