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Cacao Pesto & Cherry Tomato

Prep Time:30 minutes and 2 - 3 hours rising time
Cooking Time:15 minutes
Serves:18-20 mini focaccias

These have been one of my staple party foods for years.

The cacao adds subtle depth both to the bread and to the pesto.


For the bread

500g strong white bread flour

250 ml water

100 ml milk

2 tablespoons of sea salt

9g dried yeast

20ml olive oil

25g 100% cacao. Try Peruvian Black, Chulucanas 100% cacao


For the topping

200g cherry tomatoes cut into halves

A few fresh basil leaves as garnish

150g cacao pesto

75g fresh basil leaves

30g parmesan cheese

30g pine nuts

12g 100% cacao. Try Venezuelan, Carenero 100% cacao

40ml olive oil

Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper





Electric beater

Baking Dish



To make the cacao pesto, melt the cacao in the olive oil then put this with the rest of the ingredients in a blender and mix to a rough paste. Check the seasoning.

Heat the cacao in the milk and half the water until the cacao is melted.

Warm the rest of the water to hand temperature and put in the yeast for about 10 minutes until it starts frothing.

Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl, add the olive oil, salt and yeast and cacao mixtures.

Mix using the dough hook of an electric beater until smooth and elastic.  Add more water or flour if necessary to achieve the right consistency.

Tip the dough into a large bowl that you have greased with olive oil. Pour a little olive oil all around the edge of the dough where it meets the bowl to help it rise.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours until it has doubled in size.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back to its original size and roll the dough into a rectangle about 7mm deep.

Cover with the pesto and roll it up along its long side.

Cut the sausage of dough into 15mm high rounds.

Turn the rounds on their side and push 3 cherry tomato halves into the cracks. Don’t worry when the dough rises it will fill in the cracks.

Leave in a warm place for 1 hour for the dough to rise. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C.

When risen, lightly drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt if wanted.

Place the breads in the oven and bake for 12–15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.

Willie Recommends

Valentine’s Hot Chocolate

Prep Time:5 minutes
Cooking Time:few minutes

Cacao Nibs Focaccia

Prep Time:3 hours 30 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
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