Holiday Torta

Holiday Torta

From the Thermador and Tastespotting Ultimate Recipe Contest

Submitted by: Joni Hilton

This is the ultimate crowd pleaser.  Bursting with the Italian flavors everyone loves, it also makes a dazzling, colorful presentation. And, even though it can incorporate holiday leftovers, it's a hearty dish that wows company every time. Joni came up with it because it's the perfect food to have on hand for company and works for brunches and lunches when you're not having the Main Feast. It travels well too.  And though it's visually impressive, it's deceptively easy to make!  With layers of red and green, it's perfect for those crowds that always seem to gather at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (Note: She’s given the recipe for the pie crust, but a purchased crust can make it even simpler.)                


Serves 10-12

4 & 1/2 Cups flour
1 & 1/2 tsp. salt
2 & 1/4 Cups shortening
2 eggs, beaten
7 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. vinegar

For the filling:
2 Cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (15 oz.) can sliced olives, drained
1/2 lb. sliced cooked ham, or salami
1 Cup bottled roasted red peppers, sliced
1 (6 oz.) carton sun-dried tomato soft cheese spread (or garden flavor)
1/2 lb. sliced turkey meat
2 Cups spinach leaves
1 Cup bottled pesto sauce
2 Cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk, beaten

1. Stir flour and salt in a large bowl. Beat in shortening, with elecric mixer, until coarse crumbs form. In a small bowl, combine eggs, water and vinegar. Add to flour mixture and beat again, just until dough begins to form. Wrap in plastic and chill. (May use purchased pie dough instead)

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray or grease bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Roll 2/3 of dough into a circle and press onto bottom and up sides of pan.

3. Fill crust with remaining ingredients, except egg yolk, layering them in order. Roll out final 1/3 of crust into an 8-inch circle, and place atop fillings, pinching seams with bottom crust to seal. Make vent holes with a fork, then brush with egg yolk and bake 50 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes, then remove from pan. Slice into wedges. Great hot or cold.

You can vary the ingredients all you like - switch these for mushrooms, artichoke hearts, whatever you like.