Piccolo Tesoro Goat’s Cheese, Fig and Rocket Spelt Pizza

29 Apr

This is my adaptation of a really excellent pizza we had at Piccolo Tesoro in Montagu. Montagu is a picturesque village  about 200 km outside Cape Town on Route 62. We stayed in a pretty little hotel called Four Oaks Guest House.

We had an excellent evening meal there and the breakfasts were lovely too. Piccolo was also the name of  the really cute chihuahua who stole the show at the hotel.

 After breakfast we had a walk around the village. We saw ibises nesting, weaver birds’ nests hanging over the river and some beautiful flowers.

Traditional architecture, churches and quaint cottages surrounded by white roses.

 We wandered around the Saturday morning market with people selling  homemade jams, chutneys, breads, cakes, pestos and freshly made take-away foods, but we couldn’t stay long.

We were booked on a river boat cruise at Viljoensdrift before lunch. We had a lovely bottle of the Viljoensdrift rose while drifting down the river enjoying the views. You can also order a picnic but we had lunch already booked at the beautiful Reuben’s in Robertson. You can see my full review of lunch here.

We were very full after our fabulous lunch so we had a lie down and went out quite late for a light dinner. Pizza seemed like the best option as we had gone gourmet for lunch. Arriving at Piccolo Tesoro it seemed like everyone else had the same idea. It was packed, they had actually run out of chairs. My dad had to sit on a stool for the first half hour until somebody left!!

 To be honest we were only expecting a quick pizza and a beer. Isn’t it sometimes the way, that when you are least expecting it a little gem (or piccolo tesoro) turns up out of the blue.

We did have to wait a while because they were so busy and we were the last table but we didn’t mind at all. We had enjoyed an enormous lunch remember and The Washer Up discovered his new favourite beer while we were waiting thanks to our friend Paul. Jack Black is the best South African beer now according to him.

The pizzas were excellent, some of the best I have ever had actually. The “Sophia” was my favourite, it was topped with Gorgonzola, green fig preserve and rocket. The bases were thin and crispy and not overloaded with toppings, which is exactly how I like them. Green fig preserve is used a lot in South Africa, we also had it at our picinic at Bramon Wine Estate with the baked camembert. It is made with unripe figs.

My version of this fantastic pizza is made with a spelt flour dough. I have just found a new supplier of spelt flour actually in Alhaurin (where we live). El Amasadero supplies all different types of flour including spelt, quinoa, oat, wholemeal and strong bread flour. He also supplies baking accessories and utensils, including pizza stones which I could definitely do with. He ships all over Spain and Europe or you can buy from him directly in his office/warehouse in Alhaurin just in front of the Policia Local.

He can also get Teff flour, which I am really excited about because I have been trying to get hold of  it for ages. It is used to make the Ethiopian flatbread Injera.  Injera is a flatbread made with yeast and the runny batter is poured into a hot pan and cooked a bit like a thick crepe. I have made it before with spelt flour and have been quite happy with the results. Now I can try it with the proper flour I will be posting an Ethiopian recipe soon.

Unfortunately figs aren’t in season here yet and we don’t have the green fig preserve so I used dried figs soaked in boiling water to soften them up a bit. Gorgonzola is also quite difficult to get hold of here so I used goat’s cheese instead, you could also use a blue cheese if you like.

Goat’s Cheese, Fig & Rocket Spelt Flour Pizza

Makes 2-3 pizzas, vegetarian, Dough recipe adapted from vegrecipesofindia

Prep time 25 mins (plus 1-2 hours resting) Cooking time 5 -10 mins

For the dough:   

  • 375g – 450 gr (2.5 to 3 cups)  spelt flour (or plain)
  • 220 ml (1 cup) warm water
  • 25gr fresh yeast, finely chopped or 1 sachet quick action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil for brushing
  • polenta/cornmeal for rolling

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • a pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tin (400 gr) chopped tomatoes     
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • a squeeze of honey
  • 1/2 tsp basil pesto
  •  1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:       

  • 100-150 gr goat’s cheese/gorgonzola/blue cheese
  • 10-12 dried figs halved (or 4-5 fresh figs, sliced) or some green fig preserve       
  • 3 handfuls of grated mozzarella or other cheese 
  •  fresh rocket leaves to garnish


Whisk the honey into the warm water until it dissolves then add the yeast, whisk again and leave for 10-15 minutes to become frothy.

Add 150 gr (1 cup) flour, salt and olive oil to a large bowl, stir together then add the frothy yeast mixture. Stir again and add another 150 gr (cup) of flour until combined.  Add another 75 gr (1/2 cup) flour and combine. It should be quite a sticky dough.

Use some of the remaining flour to dust the board and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic adding more of the flour as necessary if it sticks. Put the dough in a bowl and rub some olive oil over it. Cover and leave in a warm place for up to 2 hours or until doubled in size. 

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce….

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion, herbs and chilli flakes with a pinch of salt for about 4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Tip in the tinned tomatoes, add the tomato paste, honey and pesto. Season with salt & black pepper, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until reduced.  Taste and adjust seasoning. Leave to cool. You could puree it if you like but I left mine chunky.

To cook:

Preheat the oven to its highest setting, with the baking tray (or pizza stone) in there too. Make sure the oven is clean or you will have a smoking kitchen (just saying).

Punch the dough down and divide it into 2 or 3 equal balls. You can refrigerate it at this point if you like. Sprinkle some polenta (or flour) on your worksurface and start to roll or push out your dough to a kind of circle about 3-5 mm thick.

This stage is optional but this is what Piccolo Tesoro do to keep the dough crispy. They put it in the oven for one minute before they put the toppings on. That’s what I did and it worked, no soggy base.

Take it out after 1 minute and smear some of the tomato sauce on the pizza (not too much) then add your goat’s cheese slices (or chunks), your chopped/sliced figs and cover with a layer of grated cheese. Put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes (depending on heat of oven) but keep an eye on it and take it out when you are happy.

Scatter over some fresh rocket leaves and serve immediately, with a Jack Black if you can get one…



20 Responses to “Piccolo Tesoro Goat’s Cheese, Fig and Rocket Spelt Pizza”

  1. frugalfeeding April 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Oooooh spelt! I love spelt, what a great ingredient for a pizza. This looks very yummy 🙂

  2. VogueVegetarian April 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Thank you! I have been looking for a whole grain pizza dough crust. I have a grain mill and spelt is one of the grains I use most often to grind into the flour I use for baked goods. I am putting this on my grocery list for this week. Thanks!

  3. thekalechronicles April 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    So simple to put the pizza crust in the oven for a moment to promote crispness — I have never seen this recommended until now, but I am going to try it with my next pizza. I make quite credible thin-crust sourdough pizza, but it sometimes develops a whole right in the center: your tip may fix that. Thanks.

  4. Just A Smidgen April 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    This looks so yummy.. I haven’t had lunch yet.. What I wouldn’t do for a slice! I guess when you wait a long time in a restaurant.. It’s well worth it. I’ll be trying this recipe out this week.. And the wait will be worth it too! I hope I can find the green fig preserves.

  5. Vicki @ WITK April 29, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I love all the pictures from your day, sounds like a lovely way to spend an afternoon! I don’t have any spelt, but I have a whole bunch of other flours, I wonder if this would work well with a buckwheat/whole wheat flour mix?

  6. peasepudding April 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    The perfect topping. I can’t believe how many restaurants you visited while away!

  7. Chica Andaluza April 30, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    I think I saw a feature on tv a couple of months ago about this bakery/baker in Alhaurin. Is it a young guy with his wife? Even if it´s not, you´re lucky to have access to this for your lovely pizzas (and other gorgeous creations).

  8. tony ward April 30, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    That was a great weekend guapa.Paul and I still tell everyone that these were the very best pizzas. What about the Harley ‘boys’ ??
    Great pics, que memorias !! xx

  9. heatherscreativeconcoctions April 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    I am loving figs lately, I am definitely bookmarking this 🙂

  10. kellieanderson April 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Love the sound of this – ticks all my savoury boxes, so to speak. I will seek out the fig preserve, but I do have some fig and tamarind preserve which I could use just a speck of with some naughty imported black figs – that I never can resist if the price is right :D. I am thinking I might even forgo the tomato sauce and use creme fraiche instead. May have to do TWO pizzas, one with sauce and one with creme fraiche. In the name of research, of course.

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide May 1, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    Now that’s just pretty! Who raided my jam cabinet though?

  12. Lucy May 1, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Yummie! This looks really tasty – love goats cheese! And your dog is SO cute!!

  13. dassana May 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    thanks natalie for the pingback. your pizza looks so scrumptious. yum… wanna have this pizza too 🙂

  14. suzisoutlook May 1, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    This look totally delicious. I haven’t tried using spelt in pizza dough yet. What a wonderful combination of goat cheese and figs. Congrats on the Top 9.

  15. Three Well Beings May 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    Yum! I just love goat cheese and fig! This just sounds fantastic. So interesting to think of crisping the crust…can’t think why that is a new idea, but it is! I will definitely make this soon! Debra

  16. Beth Michelle May 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Sounds like such a lovely time! Your photos are beautiful! This pizza looks and sounds wonderful. I love goat cheese and figs together!

  17. The Seas Of Mintaka August 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Mmmhhhm, all your food is so tasty! Where do you get your spelt flour?


  1. Fig, Date and Hazelnut Cardamom Spelt Scones « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - May 2, 2012

    […] of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and herbs for reasonable prices. I wanted to get some dried figs for this pizza and needed some more pine nuts for our weekly favourite, this recipe.  I couldn’t resist […]

  2. Green Fig and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta with honey, basil and black pepper « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - August 22, 2012

    […] already noticed that one of my favourite food combinations is fig and goat’s cheese from this Dried Fig & Goat’s Cheese Pizza and this Fresh Fig & Goat’s Cheese […]

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