Little pesto and cheese tarts

Little pesto and cheese tarts
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 25-30 min; oven time 10-12 min; plus chilling

These pesto and cheese tarts are really tasty and a perfect starter for a dinner party.

Ingredients

  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 500g puff pastry (or a puff pastry sheet)
  • 125g mozzarella ball

For the pesto

  • ½ garlic clove
  • 30g fresh basil leaves
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 40g freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano
  • About 100ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. If you are making your own pesto, you will need to put the garlic, a pinch of salt (which will help you to squash the garlic), and the basil leaves into either a pestle and mortar or a food processor. Grind or whizz it into a paste. Add the pine nuts and grind again – if you are using a pestle and mortar, you may need to take it in turns with friends or family to help you bash everything, to stop your arm from aching! Add the cheese and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a jug or bowl and gradually stir in the olive oil until you have a thick sauce that just drops off your spoon. Well done: you’ve just made pesto!
  2. Turn the oven on to 200°c/fan180°c/gas 6. On a flour-dusted worktop, roll out the pastry (unless you are using a sheet) until it’s a few millimetres thick.
  3. Using a saucer or big circular cutter that is 14cm across, cut 6 circles out of the pastry and rest on 2 baking trays in the fridge for 10 minutes. Once chilled, prick the middle of each pastry circle a few times with a fork.
  4. Spoon 1 tbsp pesto onto the middle of each pastry circle and spread over evenly, leaving a small border of about 1cm around the edge. Tear or slice the mozzarella ball into 6 pieces and put 1 piece on top of each tart. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked.

delicious. tips

  1. It’s so easy to make your own pesto for this tart recipe, but If you’d rather not make your own then you can use a good-quality fresh pesto, which is widely available.

    You can add other ingredients to these tarts if you like, try some chopped peppers or olives on top of the pesto.

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