Nibble & Nosh: Small Plates That Celebrate the Season

December 14, 2019

nibble & nosh

Small Plates That Celebrate the Season


Nibble and Nosh


Roasting fruit is a lovely way to create depth of flavor. It pairs deliciously with most cheese, especially a mild, whole-milk ricotta. For this recipe, I’ve added a bit more flavor to the grapes by tossing them in balsamic vinegar and olive oil prior to roasting. You’ll want to use the good balsamic vinegar for this recipe.

Makes 20 to 24 crostini

  • 1 baguette, sliced into 20 to 24 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • ¾ pound seedless red grapes
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves, or chives, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ cups whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup honey, for drizzle

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until the bread is golden brown or slightitletly toasted, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the crostini cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Then rub the halved garlic on each oiled side of the crostini. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss the grapes with half the fresh chopped thyme, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Pour the grapes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place the sheet in the oven. Roast the grapes for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they look nice and jammy. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the grapes cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, honey, and salt.

To assemble, spread 1 to 2 teaspoons of ricotta onto a crostini and top with several roasted grapes. Once all the crostini are prepared, place them on a serving platter, drizzle with honey, and garnish with the remaining fresh chopped thyme. Serve immediately.


If Brie could have a best friend, it would be jam. And to make the pairing even tastier, I’ve added pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon and then wrapped it in a pastry crust. Baked to a golden-brown perfection, this recipe is pure indulgence. I prefer an aged and more pungent tasting Brie in this recipe, but a mild Brie will work just as well.

Serves 8

  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 round of Brie (about 12 to 14 ounces), rind not removed
  • ½ cup apricot preserves
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 strand of kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

titleRoll out the puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet. Place the round of Brie in the center of the puff pastry. Pour the preserves/jam on top of the Brie. Mix together the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon and then pour that on top of the jam.

Gather all the edges of the Brie and pull them up to meet in the center of the Brie, stretching the puff pastry gently as needed (as if you were going to wrap a round package). Holding the folds together, tie the Brie with kitchen twine. Allow the extra Brie to fall over the twine. This will look pretty once the Brie is baked.

Brush the pastry with the egg wash and then place the baking sheet in the preheated oven. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the Brie cool for about 5 minutes before serving.