With colorful layers, this pretty spread is a real attention-getter of holiday gatherings. I like the convenience of making it ahead of time.
- 9 slices provolone cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- CREAM CHEESE LAYER:
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- PESTO LAYER:
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Assorted crackers
- Line a 1-qt. bowl with plastic wrap, overlapping the sides of the bowl. Arrange six cheese slices on the bottom and up the sides of the bowl, overlapping each slice; set aside.
- Drain tomatoes, reserving 3 teaspoons oil mixture. In a food processor, combine tomatoes and reserved oil mixture; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
- Place cream cheese, pistachios and garlic in the food processor; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
- Add the pine nuts, basil, parsley, salt and pepper to food processor; cover and process until blended. While processing, add oil; process for 15 seconds or until combined. Transfer to a small bowl.
- Spread a third of the cream cheese mixture over provolone cheese in prepared bowl. Layer with pesto mixture, another third of the cream cheese mixture, tomato mixture and remaining cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining provolone slices.
- Bring edges of plastic wrap together over cheese; press down gently to seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm. Open plastic wrap; invert mold onto a serving plate. Serve with crackers. Yield: 24 servings.
Originally published as Pesto Cheese Blossom in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2007, p41
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