Easy Pesto, Roasted Tomato and Bocconcini Tart

Serves 4 - 6

This tart takes next to no time to make, and even less time for my students to devour! The summery flavours work really well as a starter or snack when friends come around to play. Home-made pesto tastes amazing and is such a useful thing to make, particularly if you have a prolific basil plant! Use a good-quality puff pastry (such as Carême brand).
  • 2 sheets frozen ready-made puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 free-range egg, lightly whisked
  • 12 baby roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, pitted
  • 6 bocconcini (fresh baby mozzarella cheese), sliced
  • 6 basil leaves

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 40g (1½ oz/¼ cup) toasted pine nuts
  • 35g (1¼ oz/¹/³ cup) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 125ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF/Gas 7). Lightly spray 2 large baking trays with olive oil.

2. To make the basil pesto, whiz the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream and process to a smooth paste.

3. Place the puff pastry sheets on the greased trays. Use a small sharp knife to mark a 2 cm (¾ inch) border on each sheet (don’t cut all the way through). Use a fork to prick the pastry at regular intervals inside the border, then brush all over with the egg. Bake for 10–15 minutes, until the pastry is light golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes or until softened and wilted.

5. Spread the pastry with 100 g (3½ oz) of the basil pesto, leaving the border plain. Scatter the onion and olives over, then put the tomatoes and bocconcini on top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the tart for 6–7 minutes or until the cheese just starts to melt. Serve immediately, topped with the basil leaves.

Easy Pesto, Roasted Tomato and Bocconcini Tart

Any leftover pesto can be stored in sterilised jars for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator, covered with a layer of olive oil. Pesto is great tossed through pasta, in toasted sandwiches and spooned over chicken. It also makes a lovely gift!

Purchase Fiona Inglis' cookbook for more exciting ways to encourage both children and parents to explore their taste buds through growing and preparing healthy, seasonal recipes. It's sure to entice even the fussiest of eaters!