I made this on a whim, adapting a sweet bread recipe I’d seen but using my quick and easy homemade pizza dough and our freezer pesto. And oh my goodness, did the heavens align or what? This is SO good, we were all like, “how often can we reasonably put this on the menu?” I vote for weekly, ha! Creamy and cheesy with all that flavor from basil and parmesan is good enough, but then there’s the fun of eating it – you can pull pieces off like our favorite monkey bread. And those pieces? Well, they’re just the perfect balance of crunchy outside and soft inside. Um, I think you get the idea that I liked this, right?
The other thing I liked is that not only is it easily made with our quick homemade pizza dough, the shaping is easy, too – and very forgiving. You all know I’m not aiming for perfection, so I didn’t spend too much time worrying about the evenness of my twists, etc. but the bread swirled in the pan nicely and came out looking pretty fun. Definitely something I’d be proud to serve to guests. With only one 30 minute rise, the bread took about an hour and a half start to finish, something easily made in time for dinner especially since the hands-on time is only about 15 minutes.
And what if you don’t have pesto in the freezer? You can make it easy enough with this recipe using store-bought basil, which I think would still be cheaper than buying prepared pesto because my pesto recipe uses a secret, frugal ingredient. 😉
I used half whole wheat and half unbleached flour for this loaf, but you could easily go with all whole wheat if you want – I’ve also make our pizza crust with spelt before with good results. However you make it, just do really make it – and I’ll be thinking of the smile on your face when you bite into that first piece you pulled off. Yum.
- 1 batch of Quick Homemade Pizza Dough
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ to ⅔ c. prepared basil pesto
- 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
- butter or oil for pan
- Make pizza dough and let sit for 15 minutes. Prepare a 10-inch cast iron skillet, pie plate, or cake pan by brushing the bottom and sides with butter or oil.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the dough into a 14-inch rectangle.
- Spread the entire dough with the softened cream cheese and then with a layer of pesto.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of parmesan on only half of the dough.
- Fold the side of the dough without the parmesan over the half with and lightly press the edges to seal a bit.
- Cut dough into 5 pieces, lengthwise. Starting with one strip, twist it and add it to the prepared pan, starting in the middle and wrapping the twisted rope into a spiral. Continue adding all the strips the same way, pinching the ends together as you add them.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 375 degrees during the last 10 minutes to preheat.
- Bake the loaf at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and continue baking until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
- Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.