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Pre-Thanksgiving appetizer, maybe with cranberry?

k
katecm Nov 9, 2011 01:43 PM

My parents are coming into town this weekend, and asked if I could make them Thanksgiving dinner since I won't be home for the actual holiday. I've got the menu done, but am stumped by an appetizer. They are very fussy - nothing spicy, no peppers, no raw onions, etc. - and I don't want to overlap with other flavors, like the butternut squash in my cornbread stuffing.

I wasn't going to do cranberry sauce, since there are just three of us and we already will have so much food. So maybe I could do an appetizer with cranberries? Maybe with cream cheese and blue cheese in puff pastry? Any suggestions would be welcome, and thanks!

  1. e
    escondido123 Nov 9, 2011 01:47 PM

    You might want to think about something using dried cranberries.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123
      l
      lrhr Nov 9, 2011 06:13 PM

      If your folks like to start a meal with a green salad sort of appetizer (I love that for thanksgiving cause of how much food is on tap)--a green salad with dried cranberries. You can go as plain as lettuce, dressing and cranberries, or kale and quinoa and cranberries, or a composed salad with other autumnal fruits and veggies that aren't making it in the menu.

    2. w
      wyogal Nov 9, 2011 01:48 PM

      I was thinking o something super easy... block of cream cheese, pour cranberry sauce over, sprinkle with nut of choice. If they are a crackers/cheese kind of people. If you want little bites, puff pastry turnovers (small) or cups that hold a cheese filling topped with cranberry sauce.or phyllo cups. Savory cheesecake bites...

      1. s
        sillysully Nov 9, 2011 01:49 PM

        Try phyllo cups with brie and cranberry. Trader Joe's makes something similar, but easy enough to do homemade.

        3 Replies
        1. re: sillysully
          biondanonima Nov 9, 2011 06:07 PM

          I love brie topped with cranberry sauce and wrapped in puff pastry - decadent and delicious!

          1. re: biondanonima
            k
            kyoules Nov 10, 2011 10:34 AM

            This, exactly, was going to be my suggestion! I am making this as an appetizer for Thanksgiving at our house this year, using homemade cranberry sauce with orange juice and zest, over brie, wrapped in puff pastry. I am going to try making it in my toaster oven to see if it turns out, since I only have 1 oven and space in it will be extremely limited that day.

            My husband once ate an entire wheel of Brie en Croute by himself... but that's a different story. :)

            1. re: biondanonima
              c
              cevamal Nov 10, 2011 05:40 PM

              I was going to suggest the same! Brie en croute with cranberry sauce is one of our Thanksgiving staples.

          2. Terrie H. Nov 9, 2011 01:52 PM

            I would personnaly love puff pasty with blue cheese and a slightly boozy cranberry sauce.

            1. TorontoJo Nov 9, 2011 05:42 PM

              I'm making these ham and gruyere thumbprints for an app:

              http://www.marthastewart.com/354657/h...

              They are light and deliciously savory. The only changes are that I'm using a mixture of gruyere and blue, and adding a dollop of fig jam after baking. I bet they would be equally delicious with a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce.

              Oh, and they freeze beautifully after baking, so you can make ahead and just warm them up and add the cranberry right before you serve them

              9 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo
                j
                jules127 Nov 17, 2011 07:43 AM

                Toronto: Have you tried serving these at room temp? These are exactly what I am looking for but I won't have access to an oven.

                1. re: jules127
                  TorontoJo Nov 17, 2011 08:46 AM

                  Yep, they are still delicious at room temp. The chunk of cheese in the middle won't be soft and oozy, but it's still wonderful.

                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    k
                    katecm Nov 17, 2011 09:16 AM

                    Whoa, I only glanced over these the first time, but just looked again and realized it's a pate choux dough! I thought they were more of a shortbread. I may make them this weekend for real Thanksgiving. Have you frozen them?

                    1. re: katecm
                      TorontoJo Nov 17, 2011 09:54 AM

                      Yep, these are essentially gougeres with a cheese "thumbprint" filling. And yes, I've frozen them after baking and reheated at 325 for about 12 minutes (until the cheese in the middle was melted again). Just like regular gougeres, they freeze and reheat really well.

                      1. re: TorontoJo
                        k
                        katecm Nov 22, 2011 11:40 AM

                        Now that pre-Thanksgiving with the parents is long gone, I made these this past weekend for REAL Thanksgiving and threw them in the freezer. They are so lovely and light but still decadent - the perfect thing for Thanksgiving, since they won't be too filling.

                        Unless I eat a dozen of them.

                        Thank you!

                        1. re: katecm
                          TorontoJo Nov 22, 2011 04:28 PM

                          So glad they turned out for you. I've been steadily making my through my original test batch. They are perfect for wine o'clock. :)

                  2. re: jules127
                    m
                    Maryld Nov 17, 2011 09:38 AM

                    For Toronto--these looks great. Do you pipe them, or can they be formed by hand?

                    1. re: Maryld
                      TorontoJo Nov 17, 2011 09:56 AM

                      I piped the first batch, then just used a small cookie scoop for the second batch. It was way easier to just use the scoop and they are just as cute.

                      Note that to make the thumbprint, I used the handle of a wooden spoon. I dipped in water, dabbed the excess water off and pressed into the dough and just "swirled" a few times to make the hole wider. Worked great and was very quick.

                  3. re: TorontoJo
                    b
                    Babette Nov 22, 2011 11:50 AM

                    I was thinking of adding this to our Thanksgiving menu. Tried it and failed to get the pretty product (did not do decorative piping). The result was somewhat tasty, but after my husband named them "meat cookies" while wrapping up, I lost interest.

                  4. c
                    CDouglas Nov 17, 2011 08:13 AM

                    Cranberry sorbet: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    1. d
                      Diane in Bexley Nov 17, 2011 09:53 AM

                      This is dead easy, but don't laugh at the simplicity - Whole Foods carries a yummy cheese with dried cranberries in it. IIRC, it is a cheddar based cheese. You can put out some cheese and an assortment of crackers. If you are already making the whole 9 yeards for a big dinner, don't bite off too much more work. If you feel compelled to make something, you can make homemade crackers sprinkled with coarse salt and sesame seeds or some puff pastry straws.

                      1. t
                        thimes Nov 17, 2011 10:00 AM

                        I know you suggested cranberries but . . . . may I suggest pomegranate. You can get whole pomegranates, pop out all the little seed pods (you can actually do this in a bowl filled with water, it will help cut down on the juices squirting out and help separate the seeds from any pulp), you can do that a day or two ahead and the seeds will keep in the fridge (no longer in the water, drain them out and just cover in a bowl).

                        They would go really well on top of any cheese thing you did - goat cheese, blue cheese, etc.

                        Would be very tasty and wouldn't double up on a flavor from the main meal. We are having them for thanksgiving this year - bought them at CostCo even!

                        1. w
                          Woodensandals Nov 17, 2011 03:13 PM

                          I would do cranberry mixed into chèvre to spread on herbed crostini. Both can be made in advance and people love crostini.

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