Layered Cheese Torte

Colorful layers of this eye catching torte will make quite an impression at your next gathering. Made in a springform pan with layers of cheese, pecans and spinach it can be served whole, or one wedge at a time.  Both the whole torte and the individual wedges freeze well for make-ahead party planning.

Layered Cheese Torte

Makes one 9 inch springform pan size torte or 4-8 wedge size servings

CHEDDAR LAYER

2 pounds finely shredded cheese

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick butter melted, cooled 

In a bowl, toss the cheese, pecans and salt together.  Add the butter and mix until well combined.

CREAM CHEESE LAYER

Two 8 ounce packages cream cheese

2 teaspoons Tabasco pepper sauce

6 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the Tabasco pepper, confectioners sugar and cayenne pepper and mix until well combined.

RICOTTA SPINACH LAYER

2 pounds chopped frozen spinach

2 pounds ricotta cheese

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Defrost the spinach, press into a strainer and drain well.  Remove as much liquid as possible.  

In a bowl, mix the spinach, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and salt until well combined.  

TO ASSEMBLE THE TORTE

Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper or a cardboard cake board. 

Spread half of the cheddar mixture on the bottom of the springform pan.  Begin pressing in the middle and working outward.  Press the cheese mixture with your hands or with the back of a spoon until well compressed.

Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cheddar layer.

Place scoops of the spinach mixture across the top of the cream cheese mixture.  Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to gently spread the mixture.

Spread the remaining half of the cheddar mixture on top of the ricotta spinach layer.  Gently press the cheddar layer being careful not to press into the other layers.  

Refrigerate for 6 hours, but preferably over night.

Remove the springform ring.   Serve the torte on the removable pan bottom.  If you prefer, take the torte off the pan bottom by sliding a knife between the parchment and the pan bottom to release.  

The entire torte can be placed overnight in the freezer.  Remove the frozen torte from the pan and wrap in cellophane wrap. Place in a storage bag and freeze until ready to serve.  Thaw and serve.

If you want to freeze individual wedges, first refrigerate the torte overnight.  Remove the springform ring.  Use a long thin knife cut the torte into 4-8 wedges.  Leave the cut torte on the pan bottom and freeze overnight.  Remove the frozen wedges, and individually wrap in cellophane wrap.  Place in a storage bag and freeze until ready to serve.  Thaw and serve.