Festive Bake Recipe (better than Greggs) (2024)

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Here is my take on the humble festive bake recipe: turkey, bacon, stuffing, cranberry and white sauce in a puff pastry pocket, with a herby cheese crumb.

Festive Bake Recipe (better than Greggs) (1)

If you're reading this from outside of the UK, you may not have heard of high street bakery chain, Greggs. It's not an upmarket joint, it's baked fast food, but one of the pastry snacks they make caught my eye and I decided to see if I could recreate it.

The consensus of opinion in this house is that these generously sized pockets of festive goodness are better than the famous baker's version. WIN.

Here's what to do to make your own festive slice - the recipe makes 4 large slices.

Ingredients

  • 225 ml (7.6 floz) whole milk

    plus a little to glaze

  • 1.5 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 640 g (1.4 lb) ready rolled puff pastry sheets ie 2 packs
  • 120 g (4.2 oz) cooked turkey
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) cooked bacon or lardons
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) cooked stuffing I used one cooked stuffing ball, cooled and chopped up
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Remove the pastry from the fridge 15 minutes before you start so that it doesn’t crack when you unroll it.

Mix the cornflour with a little bit of the milk.

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Add to a pan with the rest of the milk and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Whisk over a low heat until thickened, then set aside to cool completely.

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Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/180C fan).

Unroll one sheet of pastry and cut into quarters so that you have four rectangles to work with.

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Top each rectangle with an equal share ofturkey, bacon and stuffing, leaving a couple of centimetres (a little under 1 inch) clear around the edges.

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Dot with the cranberry sauce then spoon the white sauce on top.

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Unroll your second sheet of pastry, cut into quarters and layer on top of your fillings.

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Press all around the edges of each pastry to create four pockets.

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Pressall around the edges with a fork to seal well, trim the edges with a sharp knife and transfer to a large tray lined with baking paper.

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Brush the tops all over with milk, then mix the sage, breadcrumbs and parmesan together and sprinkle all over.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and well puffed.

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Enjoy!

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What do you think? How does thisfestive slice compareto the famous Greggs version?

Pointers, tricks and troubleshooting tips for the perfect festive bake recipe

Is this festive bake recipe easy to make?

Yes! These pockets of deliciousness are so simple to make, and a fabulous way to use up leftovers after Christmas dinner, much more exciting than the prospect of eating cold turkey for days. The white sauce is foolproof and can be made in a matter of minutes.

Using ready-rolled pastry takes the hassle out of this recipe and you can even get the kids to help to pile up the turkey and closing the festive parcels, make sure to fork all the way around so none of that yummy filling escapes out in the oven.

Will I need any special equipment to make this festive bake recipe?

You should be able to easily find everything you need in the average kitchen. Weighing scales to measure out your ingredients, a chopping board and knife to cut things down to size.

A small saucepan and wooden spoon to make the white sauce, a spoon for dolloping the cranberry in, and a fork to finish the edges. And don’t forget the lined baking sheet to cook these festive slices on! The full list of equipment can be found on the recipe card below.

Where can I buy ready-rolled puff pastry?

You should be able to easily find ready-rolled puff pastry in the chilled aisle of the supermarket.

Usually, it's near the butter. You can also get it in the freezer section, or freeze some at home. At Christmas, I add a few packets to the big Christmas shop and put them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them, simply defrost in the fridge overnight.

How can I tell if cooked turkey has gone off?

When storing leftovers make sure to do so safely. Any leftovers need to be cooled and put into the fridge, or freezer within 2 hours of cooking. Leftover turkey will keep for up to a maximum of 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. Put a date on the containers you intend to freeze so you know when they need to be used up.

To check the turkey is still safe to use, make sure the above steps have been taken, so if your turkey is in the fridge it needs to be used within 4 days. Don’t keep taking all the turkey in and out of the fridge, just get out what you need for each meal.

When the turkey is no longer safe to eat it will smell rancid and might have gone slimy, it's well past edible by this point.

Is this festive bake recipe suitable for vegetarians?

This recipe is made with turkey, bacon and pork stuffing so is not suitable for vegetarians.

That said, if you’ve made a vegetarian Christmas lunch your leftovers will be vegetarian so you can use a combination of these instead of the turkey, bacon, and stuffing.

Roast vegetables work perfectly, or perhaps you had sprouts and hazelnuts with a plant-based turkey alternative, just pile in a few different things that come to the same weight as the meat elements in the recipe, so a total of 270g for four slices.

You will also need to use a vegetarian-friendly hard cheese instead of parmesan for the topping.

Is this festive bake recipe suitable for vegans?

As this festive slice is made with a meat filling, dairy milk white sauce, and topped with parmesan it is not suitable for vegans.

If you’ve had vegan Christmas dinner you can easily use these leftovers instead. Joyously a lot of ready-made pastry is suitable for vegans so make sure to buy one that is, and fill your slices with all your lovely roasted veg and vegan stuffing.

Don’t forget the cranberry sauce! You can easily make the white sauce with plant milk, and remember to use it again to brush the tops before adding vegan cheese and breadcrumb for the topping.

Is this festive bake recipe gluten-free?

For this recipe, I’m using wheat-based ready-made puff pastry and wheat-based breadcrumbs. So as it is this recipe is not suitable for someone who needs to avoid gluten in their diet.

If you’d like to try and make this gluten-free simply use a gluten-free ready-made pastry and use gluten-free bread to make the breadcrumb topping.

You will also need to check the ingredients for the stuffing or leave it out, as many contain wheat-based breadcrumbs or flour.

Is this festive bake recipe safe to eat while pregnant?

There is nothing in this recipe that would usually pose a risk to a pregnant woman as long as all the ingredients are in good condition and they have been prepared and cooked hygienically.

When using leftovers in any recipe, but particularly when cooking for people in at-risk groups like children, pregnant people, and people with compromised immune systems it's important to ensure the leftovers are stored correctly and heated up thoroughly.

Any leftovers need to be cooled and put into the fridge within 2 hours of cooking, the sooner the better. For the turkey, stuffing, and bacon they need to be used within 3 days of the initial cooking and heated up to 74C (165F) which is above the danger zone for bacterial growth.

If you have any questions or concerns please speak to a health professional, this website does not offer medical advice.

Is this festive bake recipe suitable for babies and toddlers?

A small portion of this festive slice would be ok for little ones over 8 months old that are happily eating solid foods.

Perhaps make slices half the size for any younger children or cut a large one up to share. Don’t add any extra salt as seasoning for the children's slices, and you may wish to leave out the cranberry sauce too if they don’t have sugar.

Make sure to cut up the slice for them and allow the centre to cool before serving as it will be very hot inside.

What goes well with festive bake?

These slices are a meal in themselves, they are lovely just on their own or with some steamed veggies like carrots and peas.

Can I make this festive bake recipe without white sauce?

The white sauce really helps to add some moisture to these slices, if you have some leftover bread sauce you could use a few spoonfuls of that instead or some thick gravy would work well too.

I haven’t got stuffing, can I use sausage?

Yes, by all means, use sausage instead. You can be really flexible with the fillings depending on what you have leftover.

Just make sure to use about the same total amount in weight as the filling for this recipe so about 270g for 4 slices, not including the white sauce, and cranberry sauce.

Can I add extra veggies to this recipe?

As there is only so much space in the slice you would need to take out some of the meat elements to be able to add veggies in. Alternatively, you can serve the slices with some fresh veggies on the side.

How should I store these festive bakes?

As this recipe uses leftovers it needs to be all eaten up after cooking and can’t be stored for another day.

Can I leave these festive bakes out on the counter?

No, these slices need to be served and eaten pretty much straight away, you can leave them on the side for a buffet but make sure not to leave them out for more than an hour really.

Can I make these festive bakes ahead?

This recipe is made using leftovers so you are making some elements ahead. If you wanted to you could make up the slices a few hours ahead and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to bake them. Just be mindful not to let the filling sit out on the side for too long.

As leftovers can’t be heated and cooled too many times you need to cook the slices and then serve them immediately so the final stages can’t be done in advance and reheated later.

Can I keep this recipe in the refrigerator or freezer?

No, this festive slice needs to be eaten fresh out of the oven. You could freeze your Christmas dinner leftovers after they’ve been cooked and make this festive slice at a later date. But once the slices have been made and cooked they need to be eaten up.

Can I make this festive bake recipe in a different quantity?

Yes, if you need to serve more or less than four people and have enough leftovers then you can simply amend the number of servings on the recipe card below to get the ratio of ingredients you need to make more or less.

Just head down to the recipe card where you’ll see the number of servings set to 4, click on this and a slider will appear that you can move up or down to get the number of slices you want to make. The ingredients will update automatically so you have the right ratio for the amount you want to make.

Can I make this festive bake recipe in mini portions?

These festive slices are already in individual portions, but if you are making these for a buffet or as part of a meal with lots of other things then why not try making six or eight instead of four to create cute mini slices perfect for a boxing day party.

Can I make this festive bake recipe in a stand mixer such as a KitchenAid or Kenwood Mixer?

As we’re using ready-made pastry, and leftovers to fill them you don’t really need to get the stand mixer out for this recipe.

How can I make sure these festive bakes are perfectly cooked?

When these festive slices have puffed up in the oven into inviting parcels with crisp golden brown tops you’ll know they are ready.

If you like you can carefully insert a probe thermometer into the centre of one of the slices just to make sure the filling has reached 74C(165F) and is thoroughly cooked.

Why did my festive bakes turn out dry and burnt?

If the oven is too hot these festive slices are likely to dry out and burn, and if they are left in too long this will be a problem too.

It's a good idea to set a timer when you put them in the oven for 25 minutes so you can check them at this point, and if they are done take them out, or return them to the oven for a further 5 minutes if they need it.

Did you remember to add the cranberry sauce? Those little hits of juicy cranberry really help this festive slice remain moist and bring a little burst of sweetness and sharpness. The white sauce is equally important in creating a delicious filling that's not too dry.

Why did my festive bake recipe turn out wet and undercooked?

Perhaps they were taken out too soon, or the oven wasn’t hot enough. It's important to preheat the oven before baking these festive slices, some ovens take up to 15 minutes to get up to temperature, so they might not be cooking at full temperature if you put them in too soon.

When you come to check on your slices if they still look pale pop them back in for another 5-10 minutes until they’re done.

Why didn’t my festive bakes rise?

We’re using ready-made puff pastry that isn’t being handled very much so you shouldn’t have any problems with it rising.

I like to get the pastry out of the fridge and let it rest for 15 minutes before trying to unroll it. This reduces the risk of the pastry cracking as you roll it out.

Don’t let your slices sit on the side for ages whilst waiting for the oven to heat up, pop them in the fridge for 5 minutes if you need to so the pastry doesn’t get too warm in the kitchen. It’s also important not to leave the filling out on the side for a long time either.

The breadcrumb and parmesan topping will also stop the pastry from rising as much as a flat sheet would so don’t be tempted to pile on loads of extra cheese.

Why did my filling burst out of the pastry?

This will likely be because the edge wasn’t crimped enough. Once you’ve pressed around the edge with your fingers to make the initial seal between the lid and the base go around again with a fork. Using the tines to really press those layers of pastry together, you get the added bounce of a pretty pattern around the edge with this method too.

A little air hole cut in the top of the slice is also important so steam can escape as the pies cook. Without this pressure will build up inside the slice and it is more likely to burst at the sides.

How can I add/change the flavours in this dish?

You can easily change the flavours of this festive slice to suit different tastes. This recipe is an excellent way to use up whatever leftovers you have.

Perhaps you had roast pork instead so why not do pork with stuffing and applesauce.

Roast vegetables work really well too, parsnips and carrots with white sauce and vegan stuffing is a great combination.

You can use different herbs instead of sage on the top, and whatever hard cheese you have to mix with the breadcrumb topping.

What is the origin of this recipe?

This recipe takes inspiration from the British high street classic, a festive bake from Greggs, reducing food waste, and using up leftovers to create tasty parcels of festive fun.

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Festive Bake Recipe (better than Greggs) (16)

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4.8 from 10 votes

Festive Bake Recipe (Better than Greggs)

A deliciously festive bake recipe -turkey, bacon, stuffing, cranberry and white sauce in a puff pastry pocket, with a herby cheese crumb.

Prep Time15 minutes mins

Cook Time25 minutes mins

Total Time40 minutes mins

Course: Festive makes, Pies and quiches

Cuisine: British

Servings: 4 slices

Author: Emily Leary

Ingredients

  • 225 ml (7.6 floz) whole milk

    plus a little to glaze

  • 1.5 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 640 g (1.4 lb) ready rolled puff pastry sheets ie 2 packs
  • 120 g (4.2 oz) cooked turkey
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) cooked bacon or lardons
  • 50 g (1.8 oz) cooked stuffing I used one cooked stuffing ball, cooled and chopped up
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  • Remove the pastry from the fridge 15 minutes before you start so that it doesn’t crack when you unroll it.

  • Mix the cornflour with a little of the milk.

  • Add to a pan with the rest of the milk and a pinch of salt and pepper.

  • Whisk over a low heat until thickened, then set aside to cool completely.

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F/180C fan).

  • Unroll one sheet of pastry and cut into quarters so that you have four rectangles to work with.

  • Top each rectangle with an equal share ofturkey, bacon and stuffing, leaving a couple of centimetres (a little under 1 inch) clear around the edges.

  • Dot with the cranberry sauce then spoon the white sauce on top.

  • Unroll your second sheet of pastry, cut into quarters and layer on top of your fillings.

  • Press all around the edges of each pastry to create four pockets.

  • Pressall around the edges with a fork to seal well, trim the edges with a sharp knife and transfer to a large tray lined with baking paper.

  • Brush the tops all over with milk, then mix the sage, breadcrumbs and parmesan together and sprinkle all over.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and well puffed.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 1151kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 73g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1446mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 5mg

* Note: nutritional information is estimated, based on publicly available data. Nutrient values may vary from those published. Information on this website should not be taken as medical advice. Cuisines identify the primary region of inspiration for a dish.

Tried this recipe?Snap a pic and tag @amummytoo on Instagram or tag @EmilyLearyCooks on Twitter. I can't wait to see your posts!

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More festive recipes to try

For more food ideas, try my other festive recipes - including these favourites.

Cinnamon Puff Pastry Christmas Tree Recipe

An amazing puff-pastry Christmas tree, filled with a spiced cranberry applesauce, topped with cinnamon and decorated with toddler-friendly treats.

Get the recipe

Christmas Pudding Muffins with Spiced Rum Frosting Recipe

Christmas pudding muffins are a gorgeous, festive treat to get you in the Christmas spirit, with plenty of fruit in the muffin, topped with a delicious spiced rum frosting.

Get the recipe

Onion Pudding Recipe

Onion pudding is a doughy and dense combination of suet, flour and onion. It's a decadent dish with a naturally salty-sweet flavour and it's the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast or Christmas dinner.

Get the recipe

Christmas Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe

These delicious Christmas stuffed mushrooms with walnuts, cranberries and goat's cheese make a perfect vegetarian alternative on Christmas Day.

Get the recipe

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Salami Recipe

This eye-catching chocolate salami is extra Christmasy thanks to cranberries, pistachios, orange zest and Schwartz ground cinnamon and whole cloves

Get the recipe

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Get Your Kids to Eat Anything is an achievable 'how to' for parents in the battle to overcome picky eating and 'make new the norm'. Emily Leary's unique 5-phase programme looks at the issue of 'fussy eating' in a holistic way that links imagination with food, and which situates parents alongside - not in opposition to - their children.

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