Look, we're all about holiday classics but using cranberries only for cranberry sauce is just a little too predictable in our book. We like to put them in cranberry recipes ranging from cocktails to salads using Thanksgiving leftovers and even in our holiday appetizers.
This Spiced Cranberry Relish appetizer is one that's ranking high on our holiday hit list right now because it's make ahead and a super unexpected twist on the classic cranberry flavors. Spiced wine and maple syrup combine with cranberries and then, just before serving, some red onion and jalapenos are stirred in for a spicy, spiced situation that's spooned over toasts topped with whipped goat cheese. And, yes, it's as good as it sounds!
thinly sliced into 24 pieces
for brushing on bread
or 1 orange
ends trimmed, seeded, and small dice
For the crostini: Heat an oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Brush the bread slices with some of the extra olive oil and toast in the oven until the slices are crisp and golden brown. When the crostini are toasted, rub them with the garlic untilit dissolves into the toast then drizzle each toast with remaining oil and a pinch of salt.
Crostini can be made up to 3 days ahead of time. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use.
For the cranberry relish: Bring wine and maple syrup to a boil in a wide shallow pan and reduce by two thirds until mixture is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Add the orange juice and boil another 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, orange peel, and cranberries and cook just two more minutes then immediately remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Chill mixture until cranberries are cool and they absorb the wine flavors, at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Before serving, stir in the jalapeno and red onion and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Mulled cranberry relish can be made up to two days ahead -- do not add in the red onion or jalapeno until ready to serve.
For the whipped cheese: When ready to serve using an electric mixer beat the goat cheese and heavy cream or milk together until light and fluffy. Toast brioche and spread whipped goat cheese on and top and spoon over cranberry relish and serve.
Whipped goat cheese can be made up to two days ahead of time and stored refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature and whip briefly again before spreading on toasts.
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