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Pre-Thanksgiving appetizer, maybe with cranberry?

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!

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  1. You might want to think about something using dried cranberries.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

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

        3 Replies
        1. re: sillysully

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

          1. re: biondanonima

            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

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

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

            1. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

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

                    1. re: Maryld

                      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

                    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.