Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Are you going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day or staying home? We’ll be home. I enjoy going out to dinner, just not on a busy holiday. If you share my sentiment and will be staying at home, these heart shaped appetizers would be a nice start to your Valentine meal. 

Each savory heart can be created in mere minutes by using store bought pie dough and mozzarella cheese both cut using a heart shaped cookie cutter. Once baked, you can serve them with a homemade red pepper pesto, like I did, or if you prefer, some marinara sauce. 
Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts (makes 12)
            with Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Cheese Filled Hearts:
flour for dusting cutting board

1 refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of a 15 oz. box ), thawed
1/4 inch thick slices of mozzarella cheese 
1 egg white
optional, 1-2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto:
12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 teaspoon minced roasted garlic 
2 ounces chopped roasted and salted almonds
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
salt and pepper, to taste

Supplies Needed:

cutting board
2 heart shaped cookie cutters (2 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ cutters)
rolling pin
pastry brush
baking sheet lined with parchment paper (needs to fit in your freezer)
food processor, blender, or knife


Unroll pie crust onto a large cutting board.  Cut 24 hearts using the larger heart cutter, re-rolling dough as needed.
Cut 12 hearts using the smaller heart cutter out of the mozzarella cheese slices. 
Brush egg white over one dough heart, place a mozzarella cheese heart in the center, top it with a second dough heart, press the edges of the dough together. Repeat. 

Crimp edges of hearts with a fork.

Brush tops of ravioli with egg white.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
Optional: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the tops of each heart. If you prefer you can brush the egg white in a heart pattern on the dough and sprinkle the cheese over top or just leave them plain. I personally like how they look and taste completely covered in the grated Parmesan cheese. 
Freeze hearts for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and make pesto. 
Puree roasted red pepper, roasted garlic, roasted almonds, parsley, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons  of parmesan cheese in a food processor, keeping puree somewhat chunky. Add oil and puree just to incorporate the oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour into a small serving bowl.  
If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender. If you have neither, then just chop everything really fine and mix it together by hand. 
The pesto can be made up to a few days ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator. 
Remove the hearts from the freezer and bake for 8-12 minutes until golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on them during the last few minutes of baking. If the cheese begins to ooze out of the pie crust hearts, remove them from the oven. If some cheese does ooze out, you can cut it off using a knife. 
Serve hot alongside the pesto or marinara sauce.

If you’d like a similarly easy dessert, why not use the second pie crust from the box to make these…

Chocolate Filled Heart Pastries served with raspberry sauce. See the recipe, here.

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– Beth

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  1. says

    Hi Beth!

    I'm from São Paulo, Brazil, and I was introduced to your blog by a friend of mine.
    Now it's part os my favorite blogs list!
    Congrats, your work is lovely as well as your posts!
    I own a desserts blog and just posted your "Peanut butter fudge hearts", addapted to our ingredients in Brazil and it tasted amazing!
    Actually, the only ingredient we don't have in here it's the peanut butter morsels.
    I've made some heart shaped fudges and also some marble bars.
    If you could please me with your visit, here's my site's adress:
    Helena Gasparetto – Brazil

    • says

      Hi Helena,

      I'm so glad you have found and have enjoyed my blog. I just stopped by your blog and love how your peanut butter fudge hearts turned out. I really like how you decorated them too. I spent time looking around and was fascinated by all your different desserts. It is so interesting to see the different ingredients used in the recipes. Blogging really is an amazing way to bring cultures together. Thanks for visiting and have a Happy Valentine's Day.


  2. says

    This is great! I love your recipe – thank you so much! I just made these tonight and would like to have them for our party tomorrow – do you suggest I leave them in the freezer overnight? or put them in the refrigerator after chilling for 20?

    • says

      Sorry, I didn't see this comment until this morning. Freezing overnight would be fine, but you could also just refrigerate them overnight too. You just want them to be nice and cold before baking. If they are frozen solid, they may require an extra few minutes of baking time.

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