Balsamic tomato and pesto canapés

by Jacqueline Meldrum
Balsamic tomato and pesto canapés

Balsamic tomato and pesto canapés

The canapés I remember from childhood Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) parties were not sophisticated. There was the face-down half orange, filled with toothpicks that were stacked with cubes of cheddar and pineapple. It looked a bit like a colourful hedgehog. Then egg and cress sandwiches cut into dainty squares, pickled onions, also on toothpicks and the obligatory bowls of crisps and twiglets.

It’s quite fun to recreate the cheese and pineapple hedgehogs for a bit of nostalgia, but bite-sized nibbles can be a lot more interesting and flavourful than that. The canapés I’ve created are circles of puff pastry topped with homemade dairy-free pesto and a succulent balsamic cherry tomatoes. The Mediterranean flavours burst in your mouth and leave you wanting more.

I used shop bought puff pastry, but made my own pesto. You could also use shop bought pesto as a shortcut, but the flavour of homemade pesto is wonderful and it can be made in minutes. I made a full batch of pesto and that is the recipe I’ve given you. It’s so good I like to have some leftover to serve tossed through pasta.

Ingredients

1
Remove the pastry from the fridge and allow to come up to room temperature before using
2
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6, and line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper
3
Heat a frying pan and add the cherry tomatoes - do not use any oil. When the tomatoes start to crack, add a good slug of balsamic vinegar to the pan. This will seep into the cracks and caramelise slightly in the heat of the pan
4
Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside until you need them
5
Now make the pesto. Whizz up all the ingredients in a food processor or bash the basil, garlic and nuts in a pestle and mortar, before adding the oil and seasoning
6
Roll out half of the pastry and cut out little circles using a shot glass or egg cup - something just a little bigger than the cherry tomatoes
7
Place the circles on one of the baking trays and top each with a little dollop of pesto and a cherry tomato. Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until the pastry has risen and is golden
Top the circles with a dollop of pesto
8
While the first batch is baking, prepare the second batch. Serve warm
While the first batch is baking, prepare the second batch