Small Bites 3: Gorgonzola and Brie Torté

image of single serving spread on bread
This torté  is pretty and festive as well as being a very hardy appetizer. During the holidays, when the alcohol tends to flow, this dish is a good one to have on hand. A small amount will ensure something more substantial than holiday cheer is fueling your guests!

Yield: Serves 20-35
Time: 2 hours (including time to refrigerate)
Level: Average

Gorgonzola and Brie Torte surrounded by breadIngredients:
16 ounces cream cheese, divided in half
8 ounces butter, divided in half
4 ounces brie, no rind
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped finely
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
4 ounces gorgonzola

Line a 6-inch bowl or pan with plastic wrap; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat 8 ounces of cream cheese with 4 ounces of the butter and the brie. Place in the bowl (or pan) atop the plastic wrap. Using half the cranberries, make a layer of chopped dried fruit. Refrigerate while you prepare the last layer. Beat remaining cream cheese with remaining butter and gorgonzola. Remove bottom half of the torte from the refrigerator and carefully place the gorgonzola mixture on top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour until ready to unmold.
The cold cheese mold should be easily removed from the bowl by pulling the plastic wrap. Remove plastic and turn out onto the center of a serving plate. Push walnuts into the sides of the torte. Spread the remaining cranberries on top. Chill until ready to serve with bread or crackers.

Variations: Instead of dried fruit and nuts, substitute with parsley and scallions. Or, try cranberry & pistachio or apricot & chopped walnut. If you need a quick appetizer, this is also very good when made with just gorgonzola or just brie. It doesn't have to be a torté.

This recipe is easily scaled up if you need more. Double the proportions and use an 8-inch springform pan lined with plastic wrap. Likewise, you can divide the ingredients in half (or quarters) and mold the mixture in small ramekins for a smaller group.

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