Italian Bread Tarts

  • For the bread dough
  • 4 cups strong white flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 10 grams instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • For the topping
  • 200 grams ricotta cheese
  • 200 grams bocconcini balls
  • 40 cherry tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • For the salsa verde
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 200°C. To make the tart bases, place all the dry ingredients for the dough into a bowl and whisk together until well incorporated. Whilst mixing continuously, slowly add the lukewarm water and mix to form a soft dough. Then add the oil and a little more water if need be; if it is too wet add a small amount of flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic to the touch; about 15 minutes by hand. Place the dough back into the bowl and oil the top; cover with a clean cloth or cling film and place it in a warm place to rise to twice its size.

Once the bread dough has proved, punch it down and divide into four portions. Push or roll each portion into a thin circle and raise the edges slightly to form a lip. Place them onto hot, oiled baking trays and prick the bases all over with a fork, bake for six minutes, remove from the oven and cool. Get ready to top the bases.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Divide the ricotta, bocconcini and tomatoes onto the bases, squashing the tomatoes into the tart. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake the tarts for seven to 10 minutes or until the bases are crisp and golden.

Whilst they are in the oven, prepare the salsa verde. In a blender, blitz the anchovies and garlic together, then add some roughly chopped basil, flat leaf parsley and coriander and blitz again. Then add half of the capers, Dijon mustard, lemon zest and blitz together. Then add the olive oil and blitz, add the remaining capers and blitz gently, making sure to keep some of the texture. When ready, remove the tarts from the oven and spoon over the salsa verde, scatter over some shaved Parmesan and serve.

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