I’ve called these besto scrolls because they are simply the best pesto and cheese scrolls ever. You may not have known there was a hierarchy of pesto scrolls, but there is. Let me tell you, these ones are at the top of the heap.
There are quite a number of reasons for that:
- The dough is really fluffy and light, but gets a good crunch on the outside.
- There is added cheese – always a good idea.
- It’s probably the easiest pesto and cheese scrolls recipe you’ll find. (Apart from one that uses the 2-ingredient yoghurt/SRF dough, which is ridiculously easy but not as good.)
- These scrolls are wonderful fresh from the oven, but they also keep well
- In fact, the pesto-y goodness improves with a little time, but the bread stays soft and good
- Which makes them especially good for lunchboxes.
Right, so now we’ve established the many reasons why you need to make this recipe ASAP, let’s get on with it.
More good scrolls here:10 really good lunchbox scrolls to make ahead
Making the pesto scrolls
Pesto is very simply to make (as this recipe will show you), but if it all seems like way too much food processing action (aka clean up), I understand. Feel free to use a jar of store-bought pesto instead. The Jamie Oliver brand at Woolies is quite nice, but for the tastiest you can’t go past Barilla. The Pesto alla Genovese is my fave, but the version made with rocket is a close runner-up.
That said, if you can swing it, do make the homemade stuff. It’s zingier and fresher and you can experiment with it to get it just the way you like it. I like to sub out half the pine nuts with cashews for my optimal version. It’s cheaper to make it that way, too.
As for the dough, don’t skimp on the necessary rising time. Giving it the full rise is the only way to ensure maximum fluffiness. I make the scrolls the night before right up until they are ready to bake, then keep them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, I take them out and leave to rest for 20 minutes while I get on with my morning routine (such as it is). You could also put them straight into the oven and give them an extra five minutes or so.
Then into the oven they go while the kids get up and start their morning grumping at everyone. A fresh pesto scroll for breakfast is a sure way to improve their mood.
Everyday pesto scrolls with cheese are delicious in the lunchbox or for a homemade after-school snack.
- For the dough
- 1 cup warm whole milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3½ cups plain flour, plus extra if needed
- 1 packet (7g) instant dry yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- For the pesto filling
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ cup parmesan, grated
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 cup tasty cheese, grated
1. Put the milk, honey, eggs, butter, 3 ½ cups flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer (I use a KitchenAid). Mix using the dough hook until a soft dough forms. This will take about five minutes. The dough should be very stretchy, but not overly sticky. If it seems too sticky after five minutes, add a little extra flour and mix until consistency feels right.
2. Cover the bowl with a slightly-damp clean tea towel and leave at room temperature for about an our or until doubled in size. Note that on a warm day, your dough will rise faster.
3. While the dough rises, prepare the pesto and cheese filling. Blitz the pine nuts and basil in a food processor, then add the garlic and parmesan and pulse several times. Scrape down the sides of the food processor from time to time.
4. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream, occasionally stopping the processor to scrape down the sides. Set aside.
5. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray (roasting pan) with baking paper.
6. Punch the dough down in the bowl (my favourite part!), then turn out onto your flour-dusted work surface. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough out into a rectangle about half a centimeter thin.
7. Spread the pesto evenly over the dough then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Lightly press the cheese into the pesto. Starting with the edge closest to you, carefully roll the dough into a log, keeping it tight as you go. Press to seal the edge.
8. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into 12 pieces. Put the rolls into the baking tray, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes (or overnight, see notes).
9. Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese bubbles and rolls start to brown a little.
You can make the rolls the night before and leave in the fridge overnight before baking. If you do this, give the bake time an extra five minutes.
Keep in an airtight container for a couple of days, or allow to cool completely, wrap and freeze for up to a month.