10mozzarella pearls(use vegetarian mozzarella if needed)
5-7sundried tomatoeschopped into small pieces
2tbspfresh basil pesto
20baby basil leavesor a few large basil leaves, torn
Preheat the oven to 200c/400f and line a baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone liner.
Unroll the pastry and brush with egg wash, then slice the pastry in half width-ways and place one piece on top of the other, so you have two layers of pastry (don't sandwich the egg wash together - there should be an egg wash layer in the middle and one on top).
Cut the pastry into approx 20 small squares (4 squares by 5 squares).
Place the squares on the prepared tray and bake for 10 minutes. Then take out of the oven.
Slice the mozzarella pearls in half (*tip 1) and place a piece on top of each of the pastry puffs. Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the mozzarella.
Place the puffs on a plate and top each one with a piece of sundried tomato and a small blob of pesto. Decorate with fresh basil leaves, then serve.
*Tip 1: I like to slice the pearls in half, then slice a tiny bit off the curved end so it's more like a disc. This will help the mozzarella not to fall off the pastry when it's in the oven..
Can I make them ahead?
I think these pastry bites taste best hot or a little warm. If you want to get a head start on them you can cook the pastry squares first, then cool them and place them in an air-tight box at room temperature up to two days ahead. Then reheat for 1-2 minutes in a 200C/400F oven before adding the mozzarella and finishing the bites with the tomato and pesto toppings..
Can I make them gluten free?
Yes! You can use ready-rolled gluten free puff pastry in place of regular puff pastry. I find gluten free pastry doesn't go as puffy (if you know of one that puffs nicely i'd love to know, drop me a comment please!), and it browns more quickly, so I bake it for a couple of minutes less. The gluten free ones still went down really well when I last made them..
Other topping ideas?
I think the cheese element works well on these, but you can swap out the mozzarella for brie/camembert or your favourite meltable thinly sliced cheese - such as gouda or applewood.Mix and match the sauce element with toppings such as chutney, red pesto, cranberry jelly, chilli jam or mustard.Then finish off a little crunch or bite such as pickled veg, bacon bits, slivers of beef or salmon..