Sunday afternoon I was reinstalled as co-prez of the local Hadassah chapter (you can read a quick explanation about Hadassah at one of my posts or at the Hadassah national site). Dinner was dairy/veg potluck. I opted to bring an appetizer.
Except I wasn't sure what to make. Then the other day at the local Try-n-Save, I saw a jar of sun-dried tomatoes beckoning me.
Hmmmm ... I could make something quick and simple using sun-dried tomatoes. Maybe start with some cream cheese and top with the tomatoes. Sounds great, but needs a bit more. I know! Top that with a dollop of basil pesto. I invented a winner! Woo-hoo!
Well ... not quite. It seems as if I reinvented the wheel. The wheel in question is a torta, a layered round of herbed cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.
Here, instead of having Hadassah ladies make the effort of mashing the torta in and about, then spreading a spoonful onto a baguette slice while juggling filled plates, I made the executive decision of pre-spreading the separate layers decoratively onto thin slices of French bread. Since it turned out that there were several other dip-type foods in attendance, my pre-spreads stood out outstanding.
Neufchatel (light) cream cheese could be substituted, but with the large amount of food we all brought to the potluck, the tiny amount of full-fat cream cheese wouldn't kill any diet. Too much, anyway ...
I recommend French baguettes, rather than Italian. They are both essentially the same ingredients, but French bread has a smaller diameter, making cute little one-bite canapes. I used Italian bread so the canapes were two-bites, but no one seemed repulsed.
Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pesto Canapes - Easy
Makes 30 canapes, give or take
1/2 of an Italian bread or French baguette
8 oz. brick cream cheese, softened at room temperature for 30-60 minutes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed with oil
1/2 of a 6 oz. jar of basil pesto
Preheat broiler. Slice the baguette as humanly possible. Place slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet and broil for 1 minute or until nicely browned (don't wander off! They go from barely toasted to BURNT in an eyeblink!). Flip slices and broil another 30-60 or until other side is browned a bit. Remove slices from baking sheet and set aside.
Lightly drain sun-dried tomatoes. Leave a bit of oil clinging to tomatoes for extra flavor. If tomatoes did not come pre-chopped, coarsely chop tomatoes in food processor (you'll see why in a moment). Mine didn't, so I did.
Then scrape out the contents, leaving some bits and oil behind for the next step.
Place cream cheese in the processor bowl. Process until softened up and looks almost like frosting. Add salt and pepper; then process another 10-15 seconds or until the flavored oil and spices are evenly incorporated.
On each toasted slice, spread about 1/2 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture. To speed up the process a bit, I dumped the cream cheese mixture into a sandwich bag and cut off the corner, then piped the mixture onto the toasted slices.
TIP ALERT! Cut off a smaller corner than you think you need. It's always easier to make the hole larger than smaller. I had to gently remove excess mixture off almost every baguette slice before continuing.
Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of sun-dried tomato on top. I used a demi-tasse spoon; the slices are really smaller than they appear here.
Follow with a 1/2 teaspoon of pesto. Arrange decoratively on serving platter.
Looks a little Christmas-y. Or Italian-y. Either way, they were yumm-y!
Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to a few hours. If you drive carefully, they are very transportable.