Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto Terrine/Torta/Pate

This appetizer always garners tons of complements whenever I serve it. I try to make a few small ones (in ramekins) every few months and keep them in the freezer for unexpected guests and dinner parties.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½ cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 2/3 cups cream cheese, room temperature (about 21 ounces)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • ¾ cup chevre, room temperature
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • finely crushed red chili flakes, to taste
  • Fresh basil sprigs
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Baguette slices, toasted

Directions:

  1. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach, ¼ cup pecans, oil and lemon juice. Process until well blended. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Using on/off turns, process just until blended. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Coarsely chop sun dried tomatoes in processor. Add tomato paste and process until mixture is almost smooth. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese and blend well.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups cream cheese, and chevre in large bowl until fluffy. Season with salt, pepper and red chili flakes (as much or as little as you like — I added ¼ teaspoon).
  4. Spray 6-cup cheesecake pan with removeable bottom with nonstick spray. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and sides (one circle for the bottom and a rectangle to line the side). Spread ¾ cup cream cheese-butter mixture evenly over bottom of prepared dish – I found it easiest to use a pastry bag and then freeze for a few minutes and smooth with a warmed palette knife – repeat this step with each layer). Top with half of tomato mixture, then ½ cup cream cheese-chevre mixture, then half of pesto mixture. Repeat layering with ½ cup cream cheese-chevre mixture, remaining tomato mixture, ½ cup cream cheese-chevre mixture and remaining pesto. Top with remaining cream cheese-chevre mixture. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated or will freeze for up to a few weeks.)
  5. Invert onto platter. Peel off plastic. Bring to room temperature if frozen or chilled. Garnish with basil sprigs, sun dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. Serve with baguette slices.

After-Thoughts:

* recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, December, 1999

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