We might be on our way to a long winter, which is precisely why you’ll want to regularly craft a platter of party-ready apps, like these cashew cheese bruschetta with pear-thyme “compote!” In fact, I think it’s mentally healthy to have “parties” more often during times like these. That can mean tossing a virtual soiree or having one with your own social (yet socially-distanced!) “bubble.” Even if a party of one, make up the toasts and toppings separately, then top one at a time.
Here’s one thing that might surprise you! You’ll make the no-cook pear-thyme “compote” that’s served on top of these festive bruschetta from canned pears. Yep, depending on the recipe, canned produce may be a better choice than fresh. That’s exactly what I find here. Canned pears act like poached pears … but no poaching is required. And as a bonus, you can stock up on them to get you through the entire season!
To put the bruschetta together, first make toasts. I slice up a bakery-style batard or baguette, brush with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and toast in a 500°F oven for about 6 minutes. Let them cool before topping. Then, dollop and smear on the cashew cheese-based topping. Finish with the pear-thyme compote, nuts, pomegranate arils, and sprinkles of coconut nectar and sea salt flakes. The combination of sweet and salty, plus creamy and crispy, make each bite of this cashew cheese bruschetta with pear-thyme “compote” a delight!
No-Waste Tip: Reserve the canned pear juice for use in a fruity vinaigrette or fun cocktail!
Note: I adapted this recipe from one that I developed for a cooking demo on behalf of the Pacific Coast Producers 2020 “Heart of California Orchard & Field Tour REIMAGINED.” See the original goat cheese version here.
- 4 ounces soft cashew cheese or soft goat cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup plain plant-based Greek-style yogurt or low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 12 slices bakery-style Italian bread (baguette), toasted or grilled*
- 1 recipe pear-thyme “compote” (see below)
- ¼ cup chopped pan-toasted walnuts or roasted pistachios
- 3 tablespoons fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)
- 1 tablespoon coconut nectar or honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- In a small bowl, stir together the cashew cheese, yogurt, and salt. (Hint: Add more yogurt if you prefer a looser topping.)
- Top the toast slices with the cashew cheese mixture; arrange on a platter.
- Arrange the pear “compote” on the toasts, ideally one pear slice each.
- Sprinkle with the nuts, pomegranate arils, coconut nectar, and sea salt flakes, and serve.
Per serving: 160 calories, 6g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 9g total sugars includes 2g added sugars, 5g protein
*For extra wholesomeness, choose whole grain, fruit-nut, or seeded baguette or batard. For extra richness, brush bread slices with extra-virgin olive oil before oven-toasting or grilling.
PEAR-THYME “COMPOTE”: 2 teaspoons coconut nectar or honey + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt + 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + 1 (15-ounce) can sliced pears in pear juice from concentrate, well-drained + 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut nectar, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Add the sliced pears and thyme; stir to combine. Ideally, let stand for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain before topping toasts.