These flavourful goat cheese and pesto whirls have pinenuts added for that extra bit of crunch and are perfect for a picnic, brunch, or just because.
I’m always on the lookout for recipes for goat cheese because I love the thing so much I try to integrate it in as many things as possible. I make goat cheese pizza, goat cheese quiche, I put it in sandwiches, I add it to salads, you name it.
But the best way to eat goat’s cheese is in oven-baked recipes. If you get some quality goat cheese, you’ll notice how gooey and flavorful it is fresh out of the oven. So I thought, why not integrate one of my favorite combinations, goat cheese and pesto, in some baked goods?
The result was some fabulous goat cheese and pesto whirls with pine nuts that I had to restrain myself not to eat them all in the same day.
These are the kind of baked goods that you can easily customise to make your own. You can easily add some sun-dried tomatoes, a bit of grilled courgette or swap goat cheese for feta cheese and add a handful of Kalamata olives to make a Greek version.
What do you need to make this recipe?
- Strong white bread flour — use the best quality that you can find because it really does make a difference
- Fast action ride yeast
- Olive oil
- Fresh pesto — either shop bought or homemade. You can substitute for red pesto as well if you’d prefer.
- Goat cheese — the semi-hard version, not the one that you can spread on bread. This is actually a more aged version of the spreadable goat cheese, that has had time to concentrate the flavours and develop a rind. If you are particularly interested in the differences between the various types of chevre, as the French call it, I recommend this article — “Chevre vs. Goat Cheese: What’s the Difference?” For this recipe, I used this Chavroux La Buche version of soft ripped cheese that you can generally find in most British supermarkets.
- Grated mozzarella cheese
- Grated parmesan
- Fresh basil
How do you make these goat cheese appetizers?
I make the dough for this type of bake by hand, but you can also use a tabletop mixer. You will need to make the dough and set it aside in a warm place to prove until it doubles in size. This will generally take about two hours depending on the temperature of your room.
After that, you need to roll it out in a rectangle and spread the pesto, cheese and the rest of the ingredients. When you’re done, roll the dough to form a long sausage, and then cut it into 12 even pieces. When placing the swirls on a baking tray, you need to make sure that you tuck in the open ends to prevent them from unfolding.
Another tip I have for this recipe is to roll up the dough tightly to make sure everything remains in place during the second proving process and in the oven. You will find that some of the pine nuts will go loose in the process, but there’s not much you can do about it — just pick them up from the tray and enjoy their crunchiness!
You can serve these goat cheese and pesto whirls on their own or with some tomato soup for a starter. They also work well for picnics and are freezable for up to one month.
- 475 g strong white bread flour
- 7 g fast action ride yeast
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 300 ml lukewarm water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 175 g pesto (fresh or shop-bought)
- 125 g goat cheese
- 75 g grated mozzarella cheese
- 50 g grated parmesan
- 50 g pine nuts, toasted
- Fresh basil, 1/2 bunch, chopped
- Fine salt
- Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp of fine salt in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and the water gradually, and mix until you get a slightly sticky dough. If it feels too dry, add 15 to 20 ml more water. Knead the dough for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a mixer. The result should be an elastic dough with a soft touch. Leave it to prove for 1 1/2 — 2 hours in a bowl greased with a bit of olive oil. Leave it until it's doubled its size.
- Take the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Don't worry if it's a bit sticky — it's supposed to be like that. If you feel that it's too sticky to work with, dust a bit of flour on the top. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread the pesto over it. Add the crumbled goat cheese, grated mozzarella, and parmesan, taking care to scatter them evenly. Top everything off with the toasted pinenuts and chopped basil. Roll the dough from the long side into a thick "sausage" roll. Keep it as tight as possible but don't overdo it to avoid squashing.
- Cut the roll into 12 even pieces and place them onto the lined tray. Leave a bit of space between them if you don't want the whirls to touch as they prove. Cover the tray with cling film and leave the whirls to prove again for 30 minutes. Heat the oven up at 200C.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes on the middle shelf until the mozzarella looks golden-brown. If you want them on the crunchier side, bake for 5 more minutes. Move the whirls from the tray onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 342Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 292mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 12g