Makes 12, to serve 4-6
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas.
| 1 small slim French loaf (sometimes called baguettine)|
| approximately 2 oz (50 g) mild, creamy goats' cheese (the spreadable kind that comes in tubs is fine)|
| 3-4 fresh basil leaves|
| 2 firm, medium-sized tomatoes|
| 1½ tablespoons good-quality olive oil|
| 1 clove garlic, crushed|
| 1 level tablespoon Italian pesto|
| sea salt and freshly milled black pepper |
| Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C).|
|You will also need a baking sheet.|
First combine about 1 tablespoon olive oil with the crushed garlic and spread over the baking sheet, then slice the bread into thinnish rounds; you won't need all the loaf. Now arrange the slices on the baking sheet, press them into the oil then turn them the other way up so that each surface has a slight coating of garlicky oil.
Bake them in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they have turned a golden brown and become very crisp. Do watch the timing on this – I have thrown away more burnt croutons of bread than I care to remember!
Cool them on a wire rack and store in an airtight tin until you need them (they will be okay for up to 2 weeks, which is very helpful).
When you're ready to serve, skin the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them, leave for 1 minute, then halve them, scoop out the pips, slip off the skins and chop the flesh into tiny dice.
Now simply spread each crisp bread slice first with a thin layer of pesto, then with a generous layer of goats' cheese, and sprinkle on the diced tomato together with a little crushed sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Finally, using a small teaspoon, add a few droplets of olive oil – though be careful not to overdo this.
Scatter a few fresh basil leaves over the bruschettas to serve.