Basil and Cheese Torta


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5-8 small tortas

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. With electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Prepare Pesto: In a blender or food processor, whirl to a paste the basil, parmesan or romano cheese, and olive oil.
  4. Stir in pine nuts.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Cut cheesecloth squares about 10-12" square to line custard cups (It needs to be able to cover the bottom, go up the sides and still have some to fold over the top of the torta).
  7. If you use the really loose weave stuff (standard grocery store cheesecloth), you'll need two pieces per custard cup.
  8. Moisten the cheesecloth with water, wring dry and lay two sheets out flat on top of each other.
  9. Smoothly line your custard cups with the cheesecloth (this can be a bit tricky, but it doesn't have to be perfectly smooth).
  10. With your fingers or a flexible rubber spatula, spread a thin layer (about 1/2 inch) of the cheese mixture in a lined custard cup.
  11. Cover with 1/4-/12 inch pesto.
  12. Put another layer of cheese.
  13. If you can, do another layer of pesto and cheese, so you end up with 3 cheese layers and 2 pesto layers.
  14. Two layers of cheese and one of pesto works if that's the way it comes out.
  15. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth neatly over the top of the torta and press down lightly with fingers.
  16. Repeat with remaining cheese and pesto.
  17. I get 5 large custard cups or 6 small cups plus one large cup from this quantity of ingredients.
  18. Chill until tortas are firm when pressed (at least 2 hrs, I usually just let them go overnight).
  19. Remove from custard cups by gently pulling on the cheesecloth around the edges.
  20. Remove the cheesecloth and wrap the torta tightly in two layers of saran wrap.
  21. Seal in sandwich size ziplock freezer bags and place in freezer.
  22. To serve: Remove from freezer and thaw (overnight in frig works well).
  23. Bring to near room temp and srve with sliced baguettes and crisp raw vegetables.
  24. Variation: For a large party, do one massive torta in a charlotte mold, loaf pan or a clean clay flowerpot.
  25. You'll end up with 7-8 layers of each filling in this one.
  26. I wouldn't freeze this size, but it will keep in the frig for up to 5 days.

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