Double Cranberry Crostinis

“You got your cranberries in my cheese!” “You got your cheese in my cranberries!” Either way, it’s a delicious combination. With the holidays behind us, now is the perfect time to experiment and find the recipes you want to use in holidays and gatherings that are coming up. Be they large family gatherings or a more intimate setting, these crostinis won’t disappoint. Easy to put together, and absolutely scrumptious on the way down, cranberries, cheese and thinly sliced turkey set atop a slice of baguette give your gathering the slightest air of sophistication.

Putting these bite-sized noshers together isn’t very difficult, and most of the preparation can be done in advance. First up is the cranberry chutney. Fresh cranberries are used in this chutney combined with chopped dried apricots and a variety of other spices and flavors. A few tablespoons of cranberry juice is all the liquid we’ll need for this. This chutney simmers until all the cranberries have popped and the mixture thickens. While the crostinis can be assembled all on the same day, giving the chutney a day or two in the refrigerator significantly alters the flavor. The sharp cranberry mellows and combines nicely with the piquant aromas and flavors of cardamom, cayenne and fresh ginger.

This crostini also includes a cream cheese and cranberry layer that can be put together a day or two in advance. Softened cream cheese is combined with more fresh ginger and rehydrated dried cranberries along with some spices and lime juice. Again, a day in the refrigerator allows the sharp flavor of the  fresh ginger to soften and mingle throughout the cream cheese base. If you plan to let this sit in the fridge, allow it to come to room temperature before you finally assemble the crostinis.

All that’s left is to select a nice, thinly sliced deli turkey breast. Oven roasted turkey breast, or honey or maple-glazed turkey breast work nicely on these crostinis, but avoid turkey pastrami or other boldly flavored or crusted turkey breast for this recipe. This turkey needs to be sliced thinly enough that it can be folded over, but not so thin that it chips or shreds when you try to separate the slices. A half millimeter thickness is just about spot on, but depending on the turkey, this may be too thin. We’ll also be slicing the turkey breast into inch-and-a-half wide pieces. Each strip is then loosely folded to sit on top of the cream cheese layer. You may decide that you like more or less turkey on your crostinis.

Lastly, a good, fresh baguette is essential. The baguette is sliced about half an inch thick, on the bias and lightly toasted. This is the only part of the preparation that needs to be done immediately before assembling or the baguette will dry out. Only a teaspoon of the chutney is spooned onto the top. While more always seems like a better idea, the crostinis are nearly impossible to eat, or eat cleanly.

Consider perfecting these crostinis before your next party.

Double Cranberry Crostinis

Cranberry Chutney

  • 1⅓ cups cranberries, frozen or fresh
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice 

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until all the cranberries have popped and the liquid thickens. Allow to cool to room temperature before using, or refrigerate for up to a week. Allow to come to room temperature from the refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Mixture

  • 8 ozs cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries, rehydrated

Pour hot water over the dried cranberries until they are submerged. Let them steep for 15 minutes and then drain. Toast the pecan halves in a dry skillet until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Do not allow them to burn. Remove them from the heat and roughly chop. Place the cream cheese in the workbowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine. Do not puree the mixture.

Slice the turkey into inch-and-a-half wide slices.

Slice the baguette into half-inch slices, on the bias and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 400°F oven for 6-8 minutes until the edges begin to turn light brown.

Build each crostini by smoothing a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on the baguette. Fold a slice of turkey on the cream cheese, then top with a teaspoon of the cranberry chutney. Serve immediately.