Looking for an elegant appetizer for the holidays? Sage Ricotta Crostini with Sugared Cranberries has a wonderful sweet-tart-savory flavor.
During the holiday season, I always end up buying extra cranberries. Even this year, when celebrations have only included my household, extra cranberries have made their way into my fridge.
Maybe it’s because I love cranberry dishes. In a typical year, I make both homemade jellied cranberry sauce and a whole berry cranberry sauce. We inevitably end up with more sauce than we need — and that’s okay because I can use it in cranberry coffee cake, on cranberry crumb bars and more.
Leftover raw cranberries have their place too — like in cranberry bread. Yum.
If even after making all that, you still have cranberries — or if you just want to buy more — might I suggest making sugared cranberries too? Raw cranberries are coated with sugar and used as a topping on dishes and desserts. They are delightfully sweet-tart.
And on this Sage Ricotta Crostini with Sugared Cranberries appetizer, they are the part that sets it apart from the ordinary.
Ricotta cheese is flavored with earthy sage and then spread in a thin layer on crostini toasts. Then the crostini is topped with sugared cranberries.
The appetizer looks impressive. But more than that, it’s a divine symphony of flavors. And though this doesn’t fall into the quick and easy category — you need to make the cranberries ahead of time — perhaps this is the year where that doesn’t matter.
And maybe once you’ve made Sage Ricotta Crostini with Sugared Cranberries once, you’ll be called to do so again and again. It’s that good.
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ lb cranberries
Sage Ricotta Spread
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 loaf French bread, cut diagonally into ¼-inch slices
- Start by making the syrup: Combine the water and ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat gently over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not let it come to a boil. Stir in the vanilla extract and remove from heat. Place the cranberries in a small bowl. Cover with syrup mixture. Use foil to both cover the bowl and press the cranberries gently into the syrup. Chill overnight.
- Drain the cranberries (syrup can be reserved and used to sweeten drinks, if desired). Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a shallow dish that will allow the cranberries to remain in a single layer. Toss the cranberries with the sugar and then chill for at least 1 hour. Toss again and use as desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush bread slices with olive oil on both sides. Bake for about 10 minutes until crispy.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, parmesan, sage, salt and pepper until well combined.
- Spread a little of the ricotta mixture on each of the bread slices. Top with 2-3 of the cranberries. Arrange on a platter.
- Serve immediately.