While Thanksgiving has come and gone, there is still room to feature cranberries as a star ingredient at your holiday gatherings. As nature’s “garnet bling,” cranberries were made for the holiday season, weren’t they? Nutritionally, they gift us with vitamin C, polyphenols and fiber.
In this recipe, the tart fruit contrasts with a creamy herb goat cheese spread. These crostini would make a refreshing addition to a holiday brunch buffet, a cocktail party, or a New Year's Day open house. A glass of bubbly would be a lovely pairing too … cheers!
Savory Cranberry Goat Cheese Crostini
Olena Gudz Danko, MS, RD, LD
Makes 3 dozen pieces
Long baguette loaf, cut into 36 1/3-inch thick slices
Olive oil for brushing
Fresh ground black pepper
½ cup 100% cranberry juice, divided
1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
Goat Cheese Spread
6 ounces goat cheese, softened
¾ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place baguette slices on a baking sheet, brush one side lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bake for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown around the edges. Set aside.
- For the cranberry topping: Sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of the cranberry juice in a small bowl and let soften for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, in a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, remaining ¼ cup cranberry juice, sugar, orange zest and orange juice. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until cranberries have softened but are still somewhat plump. Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin-cranberry mixture until dissolved. Refrigerate until chilled or up to overnight. For the goat cheese spread: Using a fork, combine softened goat cheese with yogurt in a medium bowl. Add chopped thyme, pepper and salt and continue mixing until smooth and creamy.
- To assemble, first spread the goat cheese mixture on toasted baguette slices, dividing evenly between the 36 pieces, then top with cranberry mixture. Garnish each crostini with a light sprinkle of fresh thyme and orange zest, if desired. Serve crostini at room temperature.
- The cranberry topping and the goat cheese spread can be made up to one day ahead. Store each separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If the goat cheese spread separates slightly, simply stir. Bring the cranberry mixture to room temperature before serving.
- The baguette is best if toasted in the oven the day of, for optimal freshness.