Caprese Pesto Margherita Stackers

March 1, 2010 1:54:37 PM PST
Entered into the Pillsbury bakeoff contest by Julie Beckwith of Crete.INGREDIENTS
  • 1 container (8 oz) fresh mozzarella ciliegine cheese (24 cherry-size balls)
  • 1 can (11 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated original breadsticks (12 breadsticks)
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon Crisco® 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 24 frilled toothpicks
  • 24 grape tomatoes
  • 24 fresh basil leaves

    1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Drain cheese balls; pat dry with paper towels.

    2. On work surface, unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. Cut each breadstick in half crosswise; press each half into 3x2-inch rectangle.

    3. Spread rounded 1/4 teaspoon of the pesto lengthwise down center of each dough rectangle. Place 1 cheese ball on each rectangle. Carefully stretch dough around cheese; pinch edges to seal completely. Place seam sides down in muffin cups. Brush with oil; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

    4. Bake 14 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan. With each toothpick, spear tomato and basil leaf; insert into cheese ball. Serve warm.

    Chef's note: For recipe success, use fresh mozzarella cheese balls only.


    Inspiration often strikes JULIE BECKWITH in the middle of the night. That's when she captured her ideas for this colorful pizza-on-a-toothpick appetizer, inspired by the zesty herb flavors of her favorite pizza margherita. Not wanting to make her guests feel they were subjects in a "science experiment," Julie first served her creation to family and friends without fanfare. The appetizers vanished in minutes. Julie calls herself a novice cook who loves to bake and experiment with Italian food. In the Entertaining Appetizers category, her Caprese Pesto Margherita Snackers are eligible for the Crisco is Cooking? Award. If she won the Bake-Off® grand prize, Julie says, she'd open her own cupcake shop. As a speech-language pathologist, Beckwith loves baking, ceramics and biking in her free time.