Caprese Vol-au-Vents

A twist on a summer classic, transformed into the perfect Christmas day canapé! You can make everything in advance and assemble just before serving. You can also take a short-cut and buy vol-au-vents – or go even further and just toss a bunch of basil, tomato and bocconcini together in a bowl with olive oil and salt for the simplest (and still so delish!) OG version.
Course Appetizer, canape
Cuisine French, Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1-2 sheets all-butter puff pastry
  • Tub of baby bocconcini torn in half
  • Saved small basil leaves for decoration
  • 1 egg beaten (for egg-wash)
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Tomatoes:

  • 200 gms of truss cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • ½ tsp superfine caster sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • Good pinch of sea salt
  • Chilli flakes if you’d like

Pesto:

  • 1 bunch of basil saving smaller leaves for decoration
  • 40 gms of toasted pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 50 gms of parmesan
  • 1 garlic glove
  • Good pinch of salt and pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon

Instructions

Vol au vents:

  • Preheat your oven to 190C and line a medium sized tray with baking paper
  • Allow your pastry to thaw slightly as it easier to work with. Grab 1 x 2.5cm round cutter and 1 x 4cm round cutter.
  • With the 4cm cutter, cut 60 rounds. Place 30 on a baking tray and prick with a fork a few times. This will prevent the pastry from puffing up.
  • With the other 30, grab your 2.5cm cutter and make the cut in the centre of the large circle. You will end up with an outer ring and a circle in the middle.
  • Make the egg wash by cracking your egg into a bowl and whisking it with a small splash of milk.
  • Brush egg wash on the rounds. Then place the outer ring on top of the rounds, trying to keep them in line. This ring will build a wall when baking. Once all rounds and rings are together then egg wash again. The middle circles can be baked separately and used as pastry bites.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes but ensure you keep an eye on them.
  • Let cool and either use or store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
  • If the middle has puffed up too much, either gently cut out or squash down with your thumb while still warm. This will help make room for the filling.

Pesto:

  • Toast your pine nuts if needed.
  • Place all ingredients in a food processer or mortar & pestle. Blend together until combined, keeping it a little bit chunky.
  • Taste for seasoning. Store in a clean jar or container. Pour a drizzle of olive oil over the top as it helps to prevent the pesto browning.
  • This stores in the fridge and will happily last at least 2 weeks.

Tomatoes:

  • Preheat the oven to 100C
  • Pop the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, still attached to their truss (green vines). Drizzle the olive oil evenly over the tomatoes, sprinkle with sugar and salt, then scatter the garlic and (optional) chilli flakes over the top, making sure the garlic is submerged in the oil.
  • Roast for 1 ½ - 2 hour, until the tomatoes are very tender and blistered, but still hold their shape. Remove from the oven.
  • Let them cool and either use straight away or transfer to a clean container, with all the oil and garlic. Will last in your fridge for 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

To assemble:

  • First fill the pastry with pesto, top with confit tomato and then torn baby bocconcini balls and decorate with your small pieces of basil. These are best assembled just before serving and eaten straight away.
Keyword basil, boconcini, tomatoes