This is the first of my “Fun Food Friday” posts. I’ll be alternating weeks of Five-Ingredient Friday, Frugal Friday and Fun Food Friday. For the fun food, I’ll be featuring appetizers, dips, spreads, cocktails, tapas and other fun foods for parties or weekend noshing. This week’s post is for Pesto Torte; it’s very simple, it has fabulous flavor and, of course, there’s a story associated with it.
Back when I lived in Nashville, there was a very swishy caterer/cafe that served Pesto Torte. They made theirs in loaf pans and would sell it by the slice. It was ghastly expensive, but it was just so delicious that The Nashville Girls and I would plunk down our hard-earned dollars for the pleasure of it.
At some point, don’t ask me how or I’ll have to “silence” you, I obtained the recipe from said swishy caterer. Now, this isn’t it…because I have simplified it for you. The recipe I got made a boursin-style cream cheese base, and a basil/spinach pesto center. I’m sure they did that to extend the ingredients…adding spinach to pesto is a great trick to increase the volume, while still getting all that delicious basil flavor.
Making small portions of this, though, it’s easier for you to use store-bought pesto in a jar (I used some I had made over the summer and froze). Also, I didn’t make a boursin-style base just because I didn’t want to add a bunch of butter. The herby cream cheese is just fine. I do have a recipe for boursin cheese here, in case you’re interested.
When I’m making small quantities, like here, I just use any bowl to mold it. I line my bowl with dampened cheesecloth, but you could use plastic wrap, too. This time I was in a real hurry to make this because football-watching time was approaching and I wanted it to sit in the refrigerator for a bit before we ate it. Normally, the layers are all straight and perfect, but it doesn’t impact how it tastes one bit for it to be messy (as it is above).
This is simple, elegant-looking, and ever so delicious! Everyone I’ve ever made it for has just loved it and it’s one of my favorite spreads for parties. So, I do hope you’ll try it!
- 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped fine
- 4 ounces basil pesto
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon dry Italian herbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Using any small bowl, or mold of your choice, line the inside with lightly dampened cheese cloth (or plastic wrap) leaving about 3 inches over the top of the bowl (this will enable you to turn out the torte with ease).
- Spoon the finely chopped (I used my food processor) sun-dried tomatoes into the bottom of the bowl and press down to make firm.
- Spoon the basil pesto on to the sun-dried tomatoes, spread evenly, and press down to make level and firm.
- Combine the cream cheese, Italian herbs and garlic powder in a bowl (or your food processor) and mix well.
- Spoon the herb cream cheese evenly on top of the pesto.
- Using the overhanging cheesecloth, form a cover for the cream cheese and press to firm the mold.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for the flavors to meld.
- Remove the mold from the refrigerator, pull up the edges of the cheese cloth and pull the torte from the mold/bowl.
- Turn it over, cream cheese side down, onto a plate or platter.
- Serve with crackers or sliced vegetables.