Rustico is an Italian snack made with rough puff pastry and a variety of stuffing. The most common stuffing is tomato and mozzarella. However, depending on which region this snack is from, the stuffing can also change.
The main feature of Rustico is the way it is assembled. These pastries are made with two discs of puff pastry, with lower disc small than the top one. On the lower disc, they add the stuffing, mostly cheese, tomatoes and pressed with the top layer. It is then brushed and baked in the oven. From the Salento Street Food scene, they have stuffing that includes tomato and mozzarella.
From Puglia street food, the filling changes to mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce or tomato cooked to mush and béchamel sauce. I picked up to make the Puglia style Rustico and its called Rustico Leccese.
Since we don’t get puff pastry locally, I had to make the pastry myself and choose to make the quick rough puff pastry that gets done quickly. Since I was working on multiple dishes, I decided to make mini Rustico, though I have given the measurement of the original dish is supposed to be.
So for my A to Z International Street Foods, I have Rustico for R, though I couldn’t find anything else for this letter, I came across Rola Wala, a popular street food joint in London. I was quite eager to make their street food but dropped the idea it was mostly regular stuff that we do. If you are interested to know the Flatbread for R, check this post.
In this A to Z International Street Foods:
A for Arancini
B for Bunny Chow
C for Chatamari
D for Dürüm
E for Empanada
F for Fataa’ir Farmaajo
G for Gilgeori Toast
H for Hua Juan Bao
I for Imqarrun il-Forn
J for Jasuben’s Pizza
K for Khachapuri
L for Lángos
M for Mofo Anana
N for Nachos Supreme
O for Okonomiyaki
P for Panelle
Q for Qamdi
Step By Step Pictures for making Rustico
Rustico | How to make Rustico Leccese
For the Dough
2 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
8 tbsp Butter (chilled and cubed)
1/2 cup Water Cold
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
For the Béchamel Sauce
2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Milk more depending on the need
2 tbsp Mozzarella Cheese
Salt to taste
Pepper To Taste
For Assembling Rustico Leccese
3 Ingredient Tomato Sauce
Cream to brush after baking
How to make the Rustico Leccese
To make the dough / outer cover
In a large bowl, measure the flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Add the chilled and cubed butter and combine them well until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Slowly add the cold water until a stiff dough forms.
Divide the dough into 2 halves and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or at least for 3 hours.
For the Béchamel Sauce
In a nonstick pan, heat butter, add flour and stir well until combined.
Slowly add milk and cook on low flame.
Add the cheese and continue cooking for few more minutes.
When everything is combined well, season with salt and pepper.
Allow to cool and pulse to get a smooth sauce.
Add more milk or water to get the right consistency.
For assembling Rustico Leccese
Pinch out two balls from the puff dough.
Dust well and roll out each puff pastry until it is 3 mm (1/8 in) thick.
From one ball, using an 8 cm (31/4 in) cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles
From the other ball, using a 10 cm (4 in) cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles.
The smaller circle will form the base of the Rustico and the larger circle will form the lid.
You might need to re-roll the pastry scraps to make the correct number of circles.
Place the smaller circles on a baking tray lined with a parchment paper.
Place 2 tsp of the cooled béchamel sauce on each of the smaller circles, leaving a 1 cm (1/2 in) border.
Place 2 tsp of the tomato sauce on top of the béchamel, then wet the border with little water with your finger for the outer layer to stick well.
Place the larger pastry circles on top and press the circles together with your fingers.
Brush the top of each Rustico with cream, then set aside in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour to firm up the pastry.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Bake the rustici for 20 minutes or until they are puffed up and golden. Set aside your Rustico pastry to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating.