This is the time of year when I renew my promise to myself not to go wild with holiday appetizers and ruin my appetite before the big meal. Then recipes like this Pumpkin Goat Cheese Crostini happen, and I realize that what I’m actually going to do is choose an outfit with an elastic waist and eat more of everything.
You need to make this savory pumpkin appetizer at some point in the next 1.5 months. I’ll let you choose the occasion—Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, office Christmas party, New Year’s, or It’s Tuesday and I’m Feeling Fancy—but pretty please do not let the holidays slip away before you try it.
It’s creamy and toasty and tastes like something you’d eat at a sparkly cocktail party where your dress looks fabulous on you and everyone is laughing at your jokes. This Pumpkin Crostini will charm everyone who tries it, yourself and your guests included!
About This Pumpkin Goat Cheese Crostini Recipe
I tend to use the word “crostini” whenever I am referring to an appetizer that involves something delicious served on top of toasted bread.
I conferred with my expert friends at Wikipedia, and they agree.
For the baguette, I stuck with my crostini standard, sourdough. A French baguette or a grainy, more whole-grain baguette would also be super tasty. They key is to pick something fresh and good quality. The bread is the recipe’s base, so don’t skimp.
Once you have your bread slices, brush them liberally with olive oil, then pop them into the oven to do their toasty thang.
Now it’s time to move on to what makes this holiday appetizer unique and something that you absolutely positively must try: the topping.
If you’re shy to pumpkin in savory applications, allow this Pumpkin Goat Cheese Crostini to introduce you to what is sure to be a lifelong love affair.
Pumpkin can be a little bland on its own, but the soft, creamy tang of the goat cheese makes an ideal partner to elevate it. Cream cheese smooths and blends the flavors so no single one overpowers the others.
Maple syrup provides the most subtle bit of sweetness (not too much, just enough to balance), and a baby pinch of cinnamon delivers the warm, harvesty flavor you are hoping for when you reach for something labeled “pumpkin.”
- Pumpkin Goat Cheese Dip. Honestly, the pumpkin/goat cheese/cream cheese “topping” is so incredibly good on its own, I think it would be delicious served as a standalone dip with apple slices and pretzels or pita chips.
- Bacon Goat Cheese Pumpkin Dip. Add a sprinkle of bacon bits to the dip for an ultra tasty dip.
- Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pasta. Tossing the pumpkin/goat cheese/cream cheese “topping” with some pasta could be a delicious twist on mac and cheese. (If you like the idea of pumpkin with pasta, you’ll love this Pumpkin Pasta Sauce.)
Make Ahead Tips
- To Make Topping Ahead. Whipped goat cheese and pumpkin mixture can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.
- To Make Toasts Ahead. Baguette slices can be toasted up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container. The bread’s texture will stiffen somewhat, so if you like a slightly softer baguette slice, you might consider toasting it a few hours ahead instead.
- To Make Crostini Ahead. Crostini can be topped and refrigerated 1 to 2 hours in advance. Let them come closer to room temperature prior to serving.
A sprinkle of dried cranberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, and fresh sage are the final touches that make the Pumpkin Goat Cheese Crostini equal parts beautiful and irresistible. Plan on many happy guests and very few leftovers!
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Crostini
For the crostini:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small (10-ounce) sourdough baguette cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 4 ounces goat cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds toasted and unsalted
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Lightly brush the olive oil over both sides of each baguette slice. Arrange the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, then flip and continue baking on the other side until lightly golden and lightly crisp, about 5 additional minutes. Set aside to cool.
- While the toasts bake, in a mixing bowl, beat together the goat cheese, cream cheese, pumpkin, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and cinnamon until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- To serve: Spread the crostini generously with the pumpkin mixture and top with any mix of cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and sage.
- Whipped goat cheese and pumpkin mixture can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.
- Baguette slices can be toasted up to 1 day in advance and stored in an airtight container. The bread’s texture will stiffen somewhat, so if you like a slightly softer baguette slice, you might consider toasting it a few hours ahead instead.
- Crostini can be topped and refrigerated 1 to 2 hours in advance. Let them come closer to room temperature prior to serving.
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