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An impressive but easy to make appetizer: Goat Cheese, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine

We’ve served this delicious Goat Cheese, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine three times already this summer to rave reviews – so I think it’s time we shared the recipe!

Our terrine is made with layers of soft goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, and finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.  Served with crackers or sliced bread – the rich, sweet flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes and the zesty, basil pesto are perfectly complemented by the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese.  This is one of my favorite flavor combinations!

Terrines are traditionally a French meat loaf or paté type of dish that has been shaped by a mold (sometimes baked), and then inverted before serving.  They look very fancy but are actually quite easy to make!

To make ours, we lined a bowl with a sheet of plastic wrap and then layered in the ingredients – pressing down firmly so that when we were ready to invert the terrine, the goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomato layers stayed intact.  The terrine was chilled until we were ready to serve.

A helpful tip is to place the terrine in a shallow bowl of very warm water for about 30 seconds – to warm the bowl and release any suction that might prevent the terrine from coming out once you invert the bowl onto a serving plate.  (The plastic wrap in the bowl also helped the terrine to slide out easily.)

Give this wonderful recipe a try – you and your guests will be thrilled at the results!

Adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 61.

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Goat Cheese, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine - A Family Feast

Goat Cheese, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 24-36 portions


  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 11 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ heavy cream (plus more if necessary)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Freshly ground black pepper for garnish
  • Crackers or sliced bread for serving


  1. In a small dry pan, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until lightly golden brown. Remove from the heat and pour onto a plate to cool. (The nuts will continue to cook after you remove them from the heat so be sure that you don’t let them brown too much – they can easily burn!)
  2. Line a 2 cup bowl (try to use a bowl with sharply sloped sides) with a piece of plastic wrap. (Be sure to cut a large enough piece of plastic wrap that you have several inches of plastic wrap extended over the sides of the bowl.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl with a fork, mash together the goat cheese, ¼ cup of cream, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and mix until well blended. If the goat cheese seems very dry, add up to another ¼ cup of cream – you want the mixture to be soft but not soggy.
  4. Spoon about 1/3rd of the goat cheese into the lined bowl, pressing down gently with a spoon to pack the cheese into an even layer. The spread the pesto over the cheese covering it completely (you will want some of the basil to peak out of the finished terrine, so make sure the pesto reaches the outer edges). Then top the pesto with another 1/3rd of the cheese (I found it helpful to drop the cheese with a teaspoon all over the pesto and then gently spread to cover the pesto evenly). Next, add the sun-dried tomatoes in a layer and sprinkle with all but about ½ tablespoon of the toasted pine nuts. Finally, add the remaining layer of goat cheese.
  5. Fold the plastic wrap edges over the top of the final layer of cheese and gently pack down. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (may be refrigerated for longer).
  6. About a ½ hour before serving, remove the terrine from the refrigerator. Place the bowl in a shallow bowl of very warm water for about 30 seconds (you only want the warm water to go halfway up the bowl). Then pull on the edges of the plastic wrap to loosen the terrine from the bowl.
  7. Place your serving dish over the glass bowl, making sure that the plastic edges are not under the terrine. Then invert the terrine onto your serving dish. If the terrine does not slide out immediately, leave it inverted for about a minute to allow the weight of the terrine to break the suction in the bottom of the bowl. If it still doesn’t come out, try placing the bowl in warm water again and repeat the above steps.
  8. Once the terrine is out, gently peel off the plastic wrap. Drizzle with a little olive oil and let sit for half an hour to warm up. Sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and some freshly ground black pepper. Serve with crackers or sliced bread.

You may also like:

Sundried Tomato and Basil Cream Cheese Spread

Sundried Tomato Basil Cream Cheese Spread - A Family Feast


Pesto - A Family Feast


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  • Heidi McArt wrote:

    Can I make this in advance and freeze it….and when need let it sit out for thawing?

    • Martha wrote:

      Great question Heidi – we’ve never tried doing so ourselves, but each ingredient alone can be frozen. I think it would work. If you are using a tempered glass bowl such as pyrex, you could even freeze it right in the bowl you use to form the terrine (just wrapped it tightly with plastic to avoid any freezer burn). Please let us know how it works out!

  • Anne wrote:

    How far in advance could I make this do you think?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Anne – I’d say a day or two in advance at the most.

  • Carol | a cup of mascarpone wrote:

    I’m drooling, Martha! This looks absolutely scrumptious!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Carol!

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche wrote:

    This looks incredible!! I’d love this slathered on some fresh bread or a cracker 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Becca!

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