Rejoice! The days are finally warmer and longer, which makes weekends more enjoyable, too! A light breeze playing with your hair, a twinkle of sunlight dancing on your nose, and the smell of green grass and flowers hanging in the air – yes, you have guessed correctly, it’s finally summer again (at least in some parts of the UK)! This means grabbing a blanket, packing up the picnic basket and taking friends and family in tow to trot off to the closest green space there is to find. To beat the hunger pangs on a long afternoon lazing about, these tasty cheesy bread parcels are the perfect picnic snack to bring along – easy to carry around, no cutlery necessary and best eaten cold! A combination of salty goodness from the “King of Cheeses”, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Parma ham, milky mozzarella, aromatic fresh basil, sweet sundried tomatoes and the sharpness of sweated onions make these little pizza pockets the King of your picnic basket. Hail to the Summer Season!
For 8 Parcels
For the dough:
500g mixed, plain flours (white and wholemeal)
320ml tepid water
2 tbsps. dry yeast
1 tsp. sea salt
1 pinch sugar
For the filling:
8 slices Parma ham
1 mozzarella ball
100g Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
1 mid-sized onion
8 pieces sundried tomatoes
A handful of fresh basil leaves
Black pepper to taste
Extra flour for dusting
What you’ll need:
Large Kitchen knife
Flat baking tray
Wooden spoon or spatula for stirring
Non-stick baking paper
- For the dough, take a mixing bowl and combine the flours forming a little well in the middle of the bowl. Add dried yeast, sea salt and sugar.
- Slowly add tepid water into the well and start stirring more and more flour into the water using a large fork until the clumps are getting bigger and start combining into an even mixture.
- Wash your hands thoroughly, then cover them and the dough with extra flour and start to knead. It tends to be easier to knead on a hard, flat surface instead of the mixing bowl. For this, make first sure that the worktop is clean and dry before dusting it with flour.
- Knead the dough thoroughly for at least 5 minutes, slapping it, folding, pulling and pushing it from every angle until it feels elastic and smooth.
- Put the dough back in the bowl, sprinkle some flour on top and cover the mixing bowl with cling film. Allow the dough to prove for about 30 minutes in a warm environment.
- In the meantime, chop the onion into strips. Sauté the onion strips by slowly heating up a frying pan with olive oil and spreading them out evenly over the pan and letting them cook, on low heat, until they turn transparent. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to avoid browning.
- Grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano, cut up the mozzarella and sundried tomatoes.
- Dust the worktop with flour. Take your dough and knead it for a few minutes, then take half and roll it out to a large square, approx. 3mm thick. Then take a knife and separate the dough into four pieces.
- Drizzle olive oil on each square and rub it in the dough.
- Distribute all ingredients equally: One slice of Parma ham per square, 1-2 tomato pieces, 1-2 slices of mozzarella, a tablespoonful of sautéed onions, a handful of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and a few fresh basil leaves. Add black pepper to taste. As the ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano are fairly salty already, I would not recommend adding any extra salt for taste.
- Take one side of the dough square and wrap it over the filling. Use your fingertips or the back of a spoon or fork to press the dough edges together so the filling won’t fall out. Glaze the parcels with olive oil using a pastry brush.
- Repeat the process for the other half of the dough with the remainder of the ingredients to make 8 parcels altogether.
- Place the bread parcels on a flat baking tray with non-stick baking paper and put them in the hot oven (middle-rack) for approx. 25 minutes or until golden-brown at 180°C (fan).
- After about 15 minutes into the baking process, take the pastry brush and glaze the bread parcels with water. This will make a crustier crust.
- After the baking process, let them cool and pack them up for a nice picnic.
(Credit to: Castelli/Parmigiano for these beautiful recipes)