Happy December All! After baking 14,000 pies in our bakery last week my mind has officially shifted to full-blown Christmas mode. I must admit here I had a lot of help from my 12 year old daughter with the transition. I was ready to crash and she had a bee in her bonnet to get the house fully decked and two live trees decorated to the hilt. Needless to say, the holiday season has arrived in full force at the House of Eckert thanks to Ella.
This week in the cooking classroom, we are getting ready for another one of my favorite classes here at Eckert’s, our annual Holiday Wine and Food Class! This class is so popular we host it two nights and it is the perfect time to celebrate delicious food and wine pairings with friends. Yesterday, Lana, my dad and I tried a variety of foods with wines and I think we are very close to a perfectly paired menu.
One of the recipes I am really excited about is called Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta and I found it on a blog site called barefootwine.com. But as always with recipes we are inspired by in the classroom, we put an Eckert’s spin on the details. This recipe uses Pinot Noir wine to create a savory sauce for the cherries. I fell in love with the idea of a cherry topping for goat cheese and crusty bread, who wouldn’t? This delicious appetizer and a glass of jammy Pinot Noir are downright delightful!
If you are making this recipe at home, be sure to use our frozen sweet cherries from Eckert’s produce department. They are grade one fruit and they are frozen quickly to lock in the maximum fruit flavor just after harvest. We used sweet cherries but our tart cherries are also super popular with cherry pie bakers.
I can’t wait to see what our classroom guests think of this appetizer and wine pairing. I think it might be my favorite of the night!!
Eat and drink well this holiday season,
Pinot Noir Cherry Bruschetta
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. minced onion
½ cup finely chopped pecans
¼ tsp. dried crushed thyme leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
¼ tsp. dried finely crushed rosemary leaves (or ½ tsp. minced fresh)
1 Tbs. Eckert’s Pure Honey
2 cups Nature Blessed Individually Quick Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries slightly defrosted and drained*
¼ cup Pinot Noir wine
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, remove from refrigerator about 20 minutes before using
1 Eckert’s Bake at Home French Bread, sliced ½-inch thick (about 30 slices)
1. In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes or until they start to soften.
3. Add pecans, spices and honey. Stir to combine.
4. Turn heat to medium high and add cherries; cook until cherries are soft about 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use kitchen scissors to cut cherries in half. Note: Seems more logical to cut cherries in half before adding to the mixture. May release a little more juice; however, I suggested draining juice in ingredients listing.
5. Stir in wine. Increase heat to medium high for 2 to 3 minutes.
6. Cook mixture until liquid cooks down to a syrupy texture about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir during this cooking time.
7. Remove from heat.
Yield: about 1 cup.
1. Take a slice of baguette, thinly (if using 4 ounce package) spread on soften goat cheese. Top with a spoonful of cherry compote.
2. Garnish with a couple fresh thyme leaves.
Makes about 30 appetizers.
Can make Cherry Compote 2 or 3 days before serving; cover and refrigerate. Appetizers can be assembled 3 hours before serving. Serve at room temperature.
*Note: If the cherries are totally defrosted there is lots of juice. Takes too long to cook down. And the cherries cook so long they lose their identity. Draining helps this problem.