We are just 12 days away from the most anticipated holiday of the year…Christmas! Over the next two weeks you may be attending a multitude of holiday parties and get-togethers that will require you to bring along something edible. As fun and exciting as this season is, it can also be incredibly stressful due to the overwhelming crowds of people in the stores, the excessive amounts of money we all spend on gifts and decorations, and the question of what do we serve our guests for holiday dinner? Here is a simple appetizer recipe that is beautiful, tasty and a crowd favorite! I top store bought puff pastry dough with a homemade cranberry, onion and balsamic chutney, creamy goat cheese and crunchy walnuts.
Cranberry Balsamic Chutney-
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
- 1 bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 cup sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- ½ Teaspoon Fresh thyme leaves
- In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-low. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add cranberries, thyme, sugar, vinegar, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until most of the berries have burst and mixture has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and cool to room temp.
Note: You can use the extra chutney for baked brie, eat it with chicken, on sandwiches like gourmet grilled cheeses and even on traditional turkey clubs.
For the Tart-
- One sheet of frozen puff pastry dough (thawed)
- 4 ounces creamy chevre goat cheese
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh Thyme leaves (garnish)
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Spray a tart pan with nonstick cooking spray. You want to use a pan with a removable bottom so you can easily remove the tart from the pan. I use a rectangular pan that is roughly 11 inches x 8.5 inches.
- Roll out the sheet of thawed puff pastry and press it into your tart pan so it comes up the sides of the pan and is even throughout.
- Poke the dough with a fork all over to prevent it from bubbling up when it cooks.
- Place the tart in the oven until it is slightly golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. IF you notice that the tart is starting to bubble up poke it again with the fork.
- Remove from the oven.
- Evenly spread a thin layer of the cranberry chutney on the tart crust. I like to have about a ¼ inch thick layer of chutney. Note: You will not use all of the chutney
- Crumble all of the goat cheese evenly around the entire tart.
- Sprinkle with the walnut pieces, salt and pepper and a drizzle of honey.
- Bake in the oven until the edges of the crust are golden brown, the cheese starts to melt and the nuts start to toast.
- It is important to make sure the center of the tart is crispy on the bottom or it will be soggy and hard to cut and serve.
- Sprinkle a few extra thyme leaves over the top to add color and flavor.
- Cut into rectangular slices and serve!