Introduction: Festive Pesto Cheese Spread

About: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and likes to be in the centre of things, so you will see him in several of my instruc…
I'm always on the look out for a tasty and easy to make dish for our workplace Christmas potluck. This year I made a pesto cheese spread, which is a variation of a cheese ball that I shaped into a wreath and garnished with fresh herbs and red peppers.

I found an image of a wreath made from cheese spread on the Kraft web site, but they did not go into detail on how to make it, and I did not like the ingredients that they used, so I came up with my own version. Here's my recipe.

Step 1: Ingredients:

  • 500g(~1lb) cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pesto
  • ~1/2 cup chopped parsley and/or basil and/or cilantro
  • 1 medium red pepper (you can also use yellow and orange peppers if you want more colour)
  • 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

  • knife and cutting board
  • mixing and measuring spoons
  • spatula
  • saran wrap
  • mixing bowl
  • plastic container to use as a mould (I used a 8 cup container, 15 cm in diameter.)
  • food processor if you have one

Step 2: Adding and Mixing Ingredients

Mix together the ingredients in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor like me (hmm, maybe I should ask Santa for one) take the cream cheese out beforehand so that it softens and is easier to blend.

  • Cut the cream cheese into smaller pieces and put in bowl.
  • add 2 tablespoons pesto mix.

  • wash and finely chop a medium size red pepper, add 3/4 of it to the cream cheese (save rest for later)*.
  • add 2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.

  • blend well.

*If you plan to refrigerate overnight and serve the next day, chop the remaining 1/4 pepper the next day.

Step 3: Making a Wreath

  • Line your plastic container with saran wrap.
  • Spoon cream cheese mix into plastic container.
  • With a spatula, make a hole in the center pushing the mixture outward (see image below).
  • Press and flatten the top of the cream cheese mix with the spatula .
  • Cover the container with a lid if you have one or saran wrap and place in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours so it becomes firm
  • After at least 3 hours, gently remove the wreath from the container by tugging on the saran wrap. Then tip it over onto a plate.
  • Using the spatula, make the surface of the wreath smooth.

Step 4: Decorate Wreath

  • Wash and finely chop herbs.
  • Cover surface of wreath with the herbs.
  • Chop the remainder of the red pepper, if you haven't done so already.
  • Decorate the wreath with the red peppers (I just made little red circles with them)
  • With a spoon or spatula press the herbs and peppers down so that the stay put.

Serve with crackers or bread. Enjoy!