What ingredients speak fall or Thanksgiving to you? For me, one of the most iconic ingredients are cranberries. Here is a different way to use this iconic ingredient. It’s a yummy Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer.
Did you have cranberries growing up?
The only way I knew about cranberries growing up was my mom’s homemade fresh cranberry sauce. When I first saw the stuff that slivered out of a can at a friend’s house, I had no idea what it was. It bore no resemblance to the sweet/tart condiment my mom always served at Thanksgiving.
As an adult, I discovered cranberry bread and cosmopolitans (who can not have one of those delicious cocktails?) Not sure I know which one I liked best. (Ok, it was the cosmo.)
These days, using fresh cranberries is totally accepted (Do they still sell the stuff in the can?) and preferred. Fresh cranberries are healthier and have no preservatives.
I think you’ll like this way of serving fresh cranberries. Cranberries and Ricotta Crostini is pretty, reasonably healthy (We won’t count the ricotta and crostini in the calorie count.), and very easy to make as an appetizer for your Thanksgiving dinner.
Why are we talking about cranberries? Because it’s Pinterest Challenge day for October. Our sweet hostess, Cindy of County Road 407 went off the home decor/DIY reservation and picked a pretty picture of cranberries as our inspiration. We could use cranberries any way we chose.
If you are joining me from Niky of House on Silverado, then welcome to my home at Bluesky at Home. I’m so happy you are here for this October Pinterest Challenge Blog Hop. If you would like to know a bit more about me and be friends, then I’d love for you read my story. Let’s find out what we have in common.
Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini: The Background
Some of you may know that I worked in the culinary department at Sur La Table for almost five years. Then I went to culinary school at the community college in downtown Dallas for one year.
Next, I started cooking classes out of my home and other venues (Viking, Williams Sonoma, private events). I have thousands of recipes in binders and hundreds of cookbooks mostly signed and collected from my SLT days.
When Cindy had the idea for cranberries as our theme for this month’s Pinterest Challenge, the first place I looked for inspiration was my recipe collection.
There I found this recipe. I had made it once years ago and remembered that it was tasty and impressive as an appetizer.
So now let’s get started.
Making the Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini
This recipe has three parts. The first two can be made ahead of serving time:
- ricotta mixture
- cranberry mixture
- toasted baguette slices – crostini
The printable recipe is below, but let me talk you through some of the steps.
DISCLOSURE: I made the cranberry and ricotta crostini for a casual dinner that I hosted last week for some girlfriends. As I got into the preparation, I forgot to take all the process pictures for you. On Saturday, I recreated the recipe prep to take more pictures for you.
I’ll share the equipment you need during the instructions and at the end of the recipe.
The Ricotta Mixture
This step can be made a day ahead, which is great if you are serving this appetizer for Thanksgiving or a party.
I didn’t use half of the ricotta mixture. I made two crostini for each person for a total of 12. You can half the ricotta mixture if you don’t need as many crostini.
Step 1 – The recipe calls for one 15-ounce container of while-milk ricotta. Don’t use skim or fat-free; it won’t taste right or have the body and texture of whole-milk.
Step 2 – Place the ricotta in a food processor. I love my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. I’ve had it for over 20 years and it never fails me.
Step 3 – Add 3 tablespoons olive oil, orange zest, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. I love my Microplane for zesting any citrus fruit.
Step 4 – Process the ingredients until combined and smooth. You can add more olive oil if the ricotta is very thick. Taste the mixture and add more salt if needed.
Step 5 – Place the ricotta in a storage container and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the crostini.
The Cranberry Mixture
The Cranberry Mixture is the pretty part of this appetizer. It also gives the dish its slightly tart taste and crunchy texture. This step can be done several hours ahead of time.
Step 1 – Wash and dry the cranberries. I use a large colander for this step. Pat the cranberries dry with a couple of pieces of paper towel.
Step 2 – With a sharp chef’s knife, roughly chop the 1 1/2 cups of cranberries. You will not use all the cranberries in the bag. You can reseal the bag and place it in the freezer.
NOTE: Did you know that cranberries freeze beautifully?
Place the chopped cranberries in a medium bowl.
Step 3 – To the bowl of chopped cranberries, add the orange juice, honey, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
Making the Crostini
You will use a French baguette for the crostini.
Step 1 – Slice the baguette on the diagonal into 1/4-inch thick slices. Use a sharp bread knife.
Step 2 – Place the crostini on a parchment paper-lined half-sheet pan.
Step 3 – Use an olive oil spray bottle to spray the top of the bread slices. Our older daughter gave us this great tool several years ago and we use it frequently.
Step 4 – Bake the crostini at 350˚F. for about 5 minutes until they are golden brown.
Assembling the Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer
Step 1 – Use a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread a generous layer of the ricotta mixture on each crostini.
Step 2 – Top the ricotta mixture with one tablespoon of the cranberry mixture.
Step 3 – Remove fresh thyme leaves from the stem for a garnish. Also, have flaky sea salt on hand. (One of my favorite brands is Maldon.) I love having fresh herbs available for cooking. Thyme is a hardy perennial herb that we use year-round.
Step 4 – Sprinkle a little of the chopped thyme leaves and a pinch of salt on each crostini.
Step 5 – Now you’re ready to serve your Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer. Select a pretty tray or platter that shows off the pretty red color of the cranberries. I had this oblong tray that worked well.
Finally, I set the tray of crostini on the Halloween tablescape.
I reconfigured the table for six to dine after the Halloween sweet buffet tablescape of the previous week.
What Equipment Do You Need to Make this Appetizer?
Here are the basic tools that you need to make this appetizer. These are standard kitchen equipment for any cook.
The Cranberry and Crostini Appetizer Recipe
Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini Appetizer
- measuring spoons
- 1 food processor
- 1 Microplane for zesting orange
- 1 storage bowl for ricotta mixture
- 1 medium bowl for cranberry mixture
- 1 chef's knife for chopping cranberries
- 1 cutting board
- mixing spoon
- 1 offset spatula
- serving tray
- 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small orange zested
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ cups fresh cranberries washed and dried
- juice of one small orange
- 1 teaspoon honey
- pinch kosher salt
- fresh thyme leaves removed from stem for garnish
- flaky sea salt for garnish
- 24 baguette slices sliced ¼-½-inch-thick on the diagonal
- olive oil
- kosher salt for sprinkling on baguette
For the Ricotta Mixture
- Place the ricotta cheese in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the olive oil, the orange zest, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Process the ingredients until combined and smooth. Store the ricotta mixture in a sealed container. Place in the refrigerator until assembly.
For the Cranberry Mixture
- Wash and dry the fresh cranberries.
- Roughly chop the cranberries. Place in a medium bowl.
- Add the orange juice, the honey, and a pinch of kosher salt. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until assembly.
For the Baguette
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the baguette slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined half-sheet pan.
- Brush or spray the top of each bread slice lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the bread is crispy, about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
To Assemble the Crostini
- Use a spoon or a small offset spatula to spread a generous layer of the ricotta mixture on each crostini.
- Top the ricotta mixture with one tablespoon of the cranberry mixture.
- Sprinkle a little of the chopped thyme leaves and a pinch of salt on each crostini. Serve the crostini on a tray or platter as an appetizer or to accompany a salad.
The list of all the participants is below. Please visit beginning with Barb of French Ethereal.
Don’t forget to PIN this recipe so you have it for your holiday festivities.