Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Countdown to Thanksgiving - the appetizer: Cheese Torta

A few weeks ago my daughter told me about a savory cheesecake she had sampled at Corina Bakery (best bakery in Tacoma!). It was creamy, tangy, and layered with pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives.

Most people would think to themselves "Hmmm, I need to go there and try it." But I'm not "most people". Any time I hear of a wonderful meal at a restaurant (see my posts regarding Olive Garden), or see an amazing slice of bliss in a bakery, I take it on as a personal challenge.

Carb Diva Mediterranean Cheese Torta
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup kalamata olives, finely minced

Line a 2 cup container (preferably plastic) with two layers of cheesecloth. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until very smooth and creamy. Spoon 1/4 of the cream cheese into the bottom of the prepared container.

Spoon the pesto evenly over the cheese. Add a second layer of cheese.

Place the sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Spread the tomato layer over the cream cheese.

Follow with a third layer of cream cheese, then the minced olives, and finally the last 1/4 of the cream cheese.

Fold up the edges of the cheesecloth to cover the top of the cream cheese. Press gently to compact. Cover airtight and chill until firm, at least one hour and up to one day.

To serve, fold back the cheesecloth, invert the container onto a serving plate and remove the container and cheesecloth.

Serve with crackers or crostini.


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