This time of year has the best food, doesn’t it? Everything is so flavorful and indulgent. We aren’t yet to the point where we’re ready to re-commit to the healthy lifestyle (not for another 2 weeks anyways), so we get to focus on the delicious treats that the holiday season brings to us!
One of my absolute favorite appetizers to make during the last couple of months of the year is the pesto cheese blossom. This amazing appetizer is always the hit of the party, and it’s unique blend of flavors really makes a lasting impression. We are always asked to make it, and we happily oblige!
The pesto cheese blossom is a one of a kind appetizer, with it’s creamy cheese, tangy garlic, and savory sun dried tomatoes. Even if you aren’t a fan of one of these ingredients on its own, you should still try this. You can’t taste any of the ingredients individually, but altogether they make a perfect blend.
This was one of the first things that my husband made for me when we were dating, and boy, did it win me over! Back then, the only thing that I knew how to cook was baked tilapia and steamed broccoli. He was not impressed. He taught me how to saute and use oils with my cooking, and now I’m the one who impresses him!
My husband has been making this appetizer at the holidays for about 9 years, and now everyone on both sides of the family expects it at any holiday gathering. I can’t say that I mind.
What appetizers does your family usually make during the holidays?
Pesto Cheese Blossom
- 1 (8-ounce) package sliced provolone cheese
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to cover the top.
- Reserving 3 slices of the provolone, line the bottom and sides of the bowl with the remaining provolone, overlapping the slices.
- For the cream cheese layer, process the cream cheese and 1 of the garlic cloves in a food processor until blended; scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- For the pesto layer, process the basil, parsley and the remaining garlic clove in the food processor until blended.
- Dissolve the salt and pepper in the olive oil and mix well.
- With the machine running, add the oil in a fine stream.
- Scrape this mixture into a second bowl and set aside.
- For the tomato layer, drain the tomatoes, reserving the oil.
- Puree the tomatoes with a small amount of the reserved oil in a food processor.
- Spread some of the cream cheese mixture over the cheese slices lining the bowl.
- Layer the pesto mixture, half of the remaining cream cheese mixture, the sun-dried tomato mixture, and then remaining cream cheese mixture in the bowl.
- Cover with the remaining provolone.
- Bring the edges of the plastic wrap together over the top and secure with a twist tie.
- Freeze until firm.
- Remove the plastic wrap and invert the mold onto a serving platter.
- Serve with party crackers.