Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes*

The world is going crazy. Absolutely crazy. Lindsay Hohan is back on the streets to terrorize all of us with her coochie shots. The oil spill is no longer the number one thing in the news. It has rained every day for the past two weeks and the past 4 days it has rained ALL day, every day. Who ever named Florida the Sunshine State was obviously an idiot. I went to the store today and they were out of peanut butter. Not like out of just one brand. Out of all creamy peanut butters they sell. They said some lady came in and bought all the jars of creamy peanut butter they had. Who does that?! And then my husband is possibly trying to move me far, far away. Out of the South. Where I belong. Where it doesn’t snow…and people are nice…and like everything fried.

So when the world goes crazy, there is one thing I can always turn to. Cheese. Cheese is always there, always the same, and always so incredibly fattening satisfying. I made this a while back when my BFF Christina was here and I took it to her farewell party. It was amazing! Everyone raved over it and begged for the recipe. Either because I am lazy…or evil (your choice) I am just now getting around to giving out this recipe! I suggest you do not make this when it is only a few people…but instead when there is a large crowd. That way you would feel guilty about sneaking it into the closet and having your dirty way with it eating it all by yourself.


Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes


10 ounces goat cheese, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt, to taste
black pepper freshly ground, to taste
1 cup finely chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
1/2 cup finely chopped Kalamata olives


In the bowl of the stand mixer, mix the goat cheese and cream cheese, adding enough milk so the mixture is smooth and spreadable. Add 1 clove of the minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

In the other bowl, combine the chopped basil with the remaining garlic and all the olive oil to make a thick paste.

Line the 1-quart bowl with wet cheesecloth. Arrange 4 large basil leaves face down on the cheesecloth.

Carefully spread 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the basil leaves on the cheesecloth. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, evenly distributing and spreading them to the edge of the cheese. Press down gently. Spread 1/3 of the cheese over the tomato layer. Spread the basil and garlic mixture over this cheese layer, pressing lightly.

Add the final layer of the cheese, then cover it with the chopped olives, spreading to the edge and pressing gently.

Fold the cheesecloth in to cover the torta and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

To serve, fold back the cheesecloth and invert it onto a serving plate. Carefully remove the cheesecloth from the top of the torta. Let the torta stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Adapted from: Basil: An Herb Lover's Guide

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18 Responses to “Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes”

  1. 1

    Apeksha — August 25, 2010 @ 3:43 am

    Absolutely love this! and the basil one top looks so pretty!

  2. 2

    Lindsay {DesignerWife} — August 25, 2010 @ 3:53 am

    This looks amazingly delicious and makes me so MAD that I’m lactose intolerant. WHY must cheese hate me so?

    And yes, the world is, indeed, going crazy again!!! Glad I’m not the only one who noticed.

    Love your blog – found you on foodbuzz. Subscribing :) Yay!


  3. 3

    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella — August 25, 2010 @ 6:19 am

    LOL I chuckled at your first paragraph! 😛 This looks great! I saw Rachel Ray do something similar on Oprah and it looked so good but so simple too! 😀

  4. 4

    Kerri — August 25, 2010 @ 7:35 am

    jess, jess, jess, jess, jess… um. yum. i know exactly when i’ll be making this! looks ah-mazing!

  5. 5

    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — August 25, 2010 @ 10:33 am

    Hi Jessica, thanks for dropping by my blog and I’m glad I found your blog! Now I want to take a cracker and dip into that cheese torta on the screen…

  6. 6

    Debbie — August 25, 2010 @ 11:06 am

    Made me LOL with Hohan! What a weird lady to come in and buy all the peanut butter, good luck finding some! I keep it in stock at all times, who knows what happens in my house without PB!

    I love this cheese torta, the basil leaves on top are beautiful!

  7. 7

    Beth — August 25, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

    That looks sinful. Oh my. I CANNOT wait to try it! Girl, I think we were separated at birth…every one of your recipes makes me drool!!

  8. 8

    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — August 25, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    Wow, I love the basil arranged so perfectly on the top – impressive! This would be great as a nice, cool appetizer for a summer party… Haha, and you’re right – Cheese DOES make it all better! Keep up the great work, Jessica!

  9. 9

    Melissa — August 25, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

    It is all of my favorite things in one recipe!

  10. 10

    ErinsFoodFiles — August 25, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

    Beautiful! I love every ingredient!

  11. 11

    Kelly — August 25, 2010 @ 7:26 pm

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. If your dog is anything like mine he will love homemade frozen yogurt. I also must say that this torta is absolutely gorgeous. I imagine you could do it in all kinds of different molds. Yum. Such a smart idea. Your pot pies also sound heavenly. I have it bookmarked now for when the weather gets just a little bit colder.

    As a sidebar, I’m a finalist in a recipe contest! I’d love your support. To vote, see my video here: and then click that you “like it.” (Note that you will have to log into your youtube account to vote and if you don’t have one, you’ll have to create one. I promise it only takes a minute!) If nothing else you get to see me look awkward on video. :-S

  12. 12

    Bonnie — August 25, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    This looks delicious! Things seem to be going well for you in the food area. Hope all else is resolved/falls into place soon. As a transplanted southerner, I know it’s hard to leave.


  13. 13

    lynn @ the actor's diet — August 25, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    wow that is absolutely gorgeous! we can always count on cheese.

  14. 14

    Cookie Sleuth — August 25, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

    Lovely! I saw you listed on Baking Bites. That’s great!

  15. 15

    The Cilantropist — August 26, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

    Ok, now this looks like something I would really like! (as do your cupcakes down there, by the way) Amazing, love love your site! :)

  16. 16

    Chiara — August 27, 2010 @ 5:09 am

    I love this recipe! And your picture is so beautiful it makes me want to have some of that cake immediately.

  17. 17

    Bail Bonds Los Angeles — October 31, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Bail Bonds Los Angeles…

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  18. 18

    Mandy — January 23, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

    You have found my weakness,,,, Cheese! And anything Italian!!!! I host a once a month recipe echange, girls get together and I’m thinking the next theme will be CHEESE!!!

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