Ok, this Pesto Torte (Pesto & Sun-dried tomato cheese ball) recipe is one I was given years ago - almost 10 years ago! When I run across it in my recipe archives, I usually make it. And, everyone loves it and wants the recipe.
I don't think it's really a Christmas appetizer. But, since it has red and green in/on it, in my books, it has become a Christmas appetizer! So, that's when I make it!
Follow along for the step by step pictorial. At the very bottom, you can print out the recipe without all the pictures.
Add an 8 oz block of cream cheese and ¾ of a stick of butter (so less than ½ cup of butter) into a bowl. They either should be softened or let them sit out for a while and soften.
Use your hand mixer to mix together. You probably will have to scrape down the sides.
Find a small bowl. Or ramekin. You want about a 2 cup capacity. Or, split the recipe in two and make two small ones.
You know, no one knows what a Pesto Torte is. I know that's what this recipe is called, but, whenever I describe it to someone I call it a pesto & sun-dried tomato cheese ball. Then everyone can picture (kind of) what it is. Hmmmm, wonder if I call it a cheese ball now since I've lived in Wisconsin for close to 10 years!
So, take the little bowl, place some plastic wrap in it. Smooth it as well as you can into the bowl. You'll love how it helps you later! Make sure you have enough so that you will be able to cover the top with the plastic wrap when you are done.
Take a little less than ⅓ of the cream cheese mixture and pat it down on the bottom. I usually use a baggie sprayed with Pam so I can flatten the cream cheese mixture without it sticking to me.
Then add about 4 oz of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the jar kind, in oil). I usually 'dry' the sun-dried tomatoes with some paper towel so the oil doesn't run onto my cream cheese mixture. Put the sun-dried tomatoes on the edges then fill in the middle.
Store bought is fine. Rarely, I'm an overachiever and have fresh pesto on hand. OK, ALLERGY ALERT!! Some store-bought (and most homemade) pesto have pine nuts in them. This is bad for anyone with a tree nut allergy. Ask my neighbor who, fortunately, had his handy dandy epi-pen with him! Actually, I think that may be the last time I made homemade pesto.
So mix well and it will end up nice and green.
OK. Now, REPEAT. A layer of about ⅓ of the cream cheese mixture, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and then the pesto.
End with a final layer of the cream cheese mixture. Cover with some cling wrap.
Refrigerate overnight. Or, if you forget you have to do this, about 2 hours in the freezer and an hour in the fridge does a good job :).
About ½ hour prior to serving, take out your beautiful pesto torte (in my mind, I'm saying 'pesto and sun-dried tomato cheese ball'). Let it soften a little to make serving easier.
Here is where you will love that you put the plastic wrap in the bow. Just lift it out!
Take the wrap off, flip and serve on a pretty tray.
You'll want to serve with sturdy crackers or sliced baguette bread. Oh, this is good!
Oh, if the top is too boring for you, garnish with a little of the pesto and sun dried tomatoes!
Pesto Torte (Pesto & Sun dried tomato cheese ball).
- 8 oz cream cheese Do not use low fat cream cheese.
- ¾ stick butter - softened to room temperature
- 8 oz sun dried tomatoes in oil use paper towel to remove oil and chop finely
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese finely shredded or grated
- 4 oz pesto
- Add an 8 oz block of cream cheese and ¾ of a stick of butter, softened into a bowl. Use a hand mixer to mix.
- Use a small bowl (about 2 cups) and line with plastic wrap. Make sure you have enough plastic wrap so that you can wrap the top of your pesto torte when done assembling.
- Take a little less than ⅓ of the cream cheese mixture and pat it down on the bottom of the small bowl. I usually use a baggie sprayed with Pam so I can flatten the cream cheese mixture without it sticking to me.
- Then add about 4 oz of chopped sun-dried tomatoes (the jar kind, in oil). I usually 'dry' the sun-dried tomatoes with some paper towel so the oil doesn't run onto my cream cheese mixture. Spread the sun-dried tomatos, making sure you spread to edges.
- Mix ¼ cup of shredded or finely grated parmesan cheese with about 2 oz of pesto.
- Spread ½ of the pesto mixture as a layer onto the cream chease mixture, making sure it is well spread to the edges.
- Do a second layer of cream cheese (reserving enough to do one more layer), chopped sun-dried tomoatos, and the pesto mix layer.
- The final layer is the cream cheese mixture.Take a good look at the picture so you can see roughly how the layers are placed.
- Cover up with the cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to serve, remove wrap and flip onto pretty serving dish. Top with a bit of pesto and sundried tomatos, if desired.
- Serve with sturdy crackers or sliced pieces of baguette. I usually have a small cheese knife to help serve this.