When Little Chef A first made Crostini Alla Romana it was successful except the bread was too thick. Caprese Tartlets by Melissa D’ Arabian have pretty much the same ingredients. Tarlets are small and that is what my Little Chefs love to eat; anything small.
Little Chef A used one of our favorite tools, a pizza wheel, to cut off the crust. She then used a rolling pin and rolled it as flat as she could. The now squashed bread was passed to Little Chef D who brushed both sides with olive oil and then placed each one in a muffin tin cup.
The second step is to add flavor to softened cream cheese. When all the ingredients are mixed into the cream cheese well add a dollop into the middle of each tartlet. Measuring is a skill even the young Little Chefs are able to master. Hint: When you first start teaching your Little Chefs to measure have them prep all the ingredients into separate bowls. This way if they make a mistake it is easily fixed.
Bake tartlets for about 12 minutes at 375 degrees F. In the meanwhile, dice the tomato. If your Little Chef is able to safely use a knife they can chop it, otherwise we have had quicker success with a Vidalia Chopper. Add salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Mix well.
When time is up remove from the oven and carefully add mozzarella cheese followed by the tomato mixture. Place in the oven for about 3 more minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Fresh mozzarella cheese would be wonderful to use, but we don’t have this in our refrigerator as a staple so we used shredded mozzarella instead.
When the cheese has melted remove from the oven and top with fresh basil. We have found using a pizza wheel is the easiest to use to cut through a handful of basil leaves rolled together.
Little Chefs A and C were able to eat these easily. Little Chefs D and H needed theirs cut into fouths. Then they were easily eaten. They all loved this recipe and want to make it again. It was fun to make and fun to eat.
Inspired by Melissa D’Arabian
8 slices white bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Toma tomatoes, chopped
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Remove the crusts from the bread and using a large spoon or rolling pin, gently press the slices of bread down flat until they are thin and almost doughy. Brush both sides of the bread with olive oil. Press the slices in the muffin tin, to form tartlet shells. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, using a fork to combine, mix together the cream cheese, garlic powder, dried basil, salt and pepper until smooth and creamy. Drop about a teaspoon of the cream cheese into the bottom of each muffin tn. Bake the tartlets until golden and crusty, 12 to 13 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, dice the tomato and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, if using. Once the tartlets are golden, remove them from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Place some shredded mozzarella on top of the cream cheese, then add some diced tomato. Garnish with basil chiffonade.