Baked Mediterranean Cheese Spread

Courtesy of Simone Davidson, The Pampered Chef

1/4 cup (50 ml) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 cup (75 ml) finely chopped Caesar-flavored croutons
1/2 cup (125 ml) pitted kalamata olives, divided
16 oz (500 g) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp (15 ml) Greek Rub, divided
2 garlic cloves, pressed, divided
3/4 cup (175 mL) roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
3 (6-in./15-cm) pita pocket bread rounds
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

Preheat oven 400°F .

Grate half of the Parmesan cheese using Rotary Grater. Finely chop croutons using Food Chopper. Combine grated Parmesan cheese and croutons in Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl; set aside. Coarsely chop olives using Chef’s Knife; reserve 2 tbsp (30 ml) for topping. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine cream cheese, remaining olives, 2 tsp (10 ml) of the rub and 1 garlic clove pressed with Garlic Press; mix well.

Shape cream cheese mixture into a ball; coat completely with crouton mixture. Place in center of Large Round Stone; press to form a 6-in. (15-cm) disk. Press center of disk, creating a 1/2-inch-deep (1-cm) well with a 1-in. (2.5-cm) border around edge. Chop peppers; combine peppers, remaining 1 tsp (5 ml) rub and reserved olives in Small Batter Bowl; spoon into well of cheese spread.

Press remaining garlic into Prep Bowl; combine with oil. Split pitas in half horizontally using Color Coated Bread Knife to make six 6-in. (15-cm) circles. Brush cut sides of pitas with oil mixture; cut each circle into six wedges for a total of 36 wedges. Arrange wedges cut side up around cheese spread; sprinkle with salt. Grate remaining Parmesan cheese over cheese spread and pita wedges.

Bake 14-16 minutes or until pita wedges are golden brown and crisp. Serve warm with Bamboo Spreader.