It’s Friday! And that means it’s happy hour time in our house. I like to start early, cause why not, and usually that means 5pm sharp or earlier, if possible. I like to put out snacky foods for everyone to pick on and uncork a delicious bottle of wine – red these days, because it’s getting cool in the evenings and red is a nice way to warm up. The kids emerge from wherever they are in the house as soon as I send out the “Happy Hour” group text, grab some bites of food and sometimes even hang out with their old parents for a little while. I love getting their feedback on new appetizer recipes. They really like these Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese Toasts w/ Red Grape Compote. There’s something for everyone in these little bites. They’re a delicious combination of sweet and savory, a perfect companion to wine as an appetizer or even as dessert.
In fact, goat cheese is my favorite kind of cheese to have after a meal. It’s so tangy, smooth and mild and practically begs to be paired with something sweet. So give it what it wants and use cinnamon-raisin bread for the base of these Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese Toasts w/ Red Grape Compote. The goat cheese on the toasts alone would be completely delicious. But it’s the season to celebrate, and I like to elevate these little bites enough so I can serve them as an hors d’oeurvre at parties. Our guests gobble them up in no time!
Gettin’ a little Fancy
So how do we elevate these tasty little guys? First, we roll the log of goat cheese in crushed pecans. Goat cheese is soft and will tend to stick to your fingers, but try to press the pecans into the log as best you can. Then, I like to wrap the crusted cheese in plastic wrap and freeze it for at least 30 minutes. Freezing the cheese makes it much easier to slice. Trying to slice goat cheese while it’s at room temperature is just a wee bit frustrating, take my word for it.
While the cheese is firming up in the freezer, make the grape compote. It’s a simple mixture that thickens as it cooks on the stove top. The star ingredient in the compote is the fresh rosemary. Honestly you guys, what is better than fresh rosemary when the weather gets crispy cool? I literally feel like I’m in a commercial for rosemary every time I go to my herb box, snip some off and take a long, deep sniff of it – eyes closed and everything. I just love rosemary so much. It’s as amazing in sweet preparations as it is in savory ones, and if I could only cook with one herb during the fall season, it would be rosemary.
Many Uses for the Compote
The grape compote that we’re using in these Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese Toasts w/ Red Grape Compote can be stored in the fridge and used as a topping for ice cream, cheesecake and as a delicious accompaniment on a cheese board. However you use it, I promise you’ll use it. Just be sure to let it come to room temperature before you serve it. And if you want to warm it up a little, that’s even better.
These delicious little bites have some of my favorite seasonal flavors and are a pretty way to entertain your guests at your next at-home happy hour. Enjoy!
- 4-5 slices of cinnamon-raisin bread
- 8oz. log of goat cheese
- 1/2 cup pecans, crushed
- 1 lbs. red grapes
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
Roll the goat cheese in the crushed pecans, gently pressing the pecans into the cheese so that it sticks. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Unwrap and slice into rounds. It’s ok if it crumbles a bit. Allow the cheese rounds to sit at room temperature while you prepare the grape compote.
To make the compote, bring grapes, butter and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens. Using a wooden spoon, break up some of the grapes. Stir in the honey, rosemary and cornstarch and continue to cook until syrupy, mashing the grapes with a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
Slice the crusts off of the bread and cut each slice into quarters. Toast. Top each toast square with goat cheese and drizzle with grape compote. Garnish with additional rosemary, if desired.