Easy and delicious, this holiday platter features prosciutto, bosc pear, sugared cranberries, fresh rosemary, lovely crackers, cinnamon candied pecans, spreadable goat cheese and a homemade cranberry-onion marmalade.
When it comes to holiday entertaining, I like to keep it casual, simple and of course, delicious. This time of year, I'm a fan of concentrating on just a few complementary flavours and textures together, rather than trying to "do it all" :) I make up the components ahead and keep my fridge stocked with the meat and cheese and I'm always ready when a holiday moment demands a platter of nice food!
This Cranberry-Themed Holiday Platter is a great example of that idea. All of the flavours go so beautifully together, from the lovely parma prosciutto, to the tangy, spreadable goat cheese, the delicious cranberry-onion marmalade, the bosc pear slices and the cinnamon candied pecans. Quick-sugared cranberries and rosemary provide a festive touch to the platter. And of course, no great holiday platter is complete without some great crackers.
Cook's Notes for Cranberry-Themed Holiday Platter
You can make the candied pecans, cranberry-onion marmalade and the sugared cranberries ahead and then you will always prepared to make a quick platter when you need to!
Speaking of cranberries, I'm calling the "quick" because I only let them stand in the sugar syrup for a couple of hours. As such, they are probably more decoration than an edible treat. If you want to be less quick and enjoy eating them, let the cranberries soak in the syrup in the fridge for 24 hours before sugaring.
I've used spreadable goat cheese here, but you could easily substitute any nice spreadable cheese you like.
If you don't have pears on hand, apples work nicely with these flavours, as well.
Sometimes the best discoveries occur after the photo shoot. While I was picking up the prosciutto at the deli, I spotted a lovely, all natural deli porchetta next to it, so I picked some of that up as well. While I only put the prosciutto on the platter for the photos, when we chowed down on this platter later in the day, I pulled out some of that porchetta. And well, just wow. It was absolutely perfect with the onion marmalade and goat cheese. It's that vein of herbs and garlic in that porchetta! I've added it as a good option on the recipe card below :)
Cranberry Themed Holiday Platter
For the Quick Sugared Cranberries:
- 1/2 cup white sugar (plus more for coating)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
For the Cinnamon Candied Pecans:
- 1 egg white
- 4 tsp water
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 lb. pecan halves
For the Cranberry Onion Marmalade:
- 3 cups red onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the platter:
- 3 1/2 oz Parma Prosciutto ( and/or Deli Porchetta, thinly sliced and torn in to bite sized pieces)
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Bosc pear (cored and thinly sliced)
- Spreadable goat cheese
- Assorted Crackers
- For the Quick Sugared Cranberries: Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add cranberries. Let stand in pot at room temperature for an hour or two. *The cranberries want to float, so if you have a small plate or something you can place on top to push them down into the sugar water, even better.
- When cranberries have sat and are fully cool, pour through a strainer to drain the liquid and discard, reserving the cranberries. Scatter a 1/4 cup or so of white sugar on a plate. Add about 6 cranberries at a time to the plate and use a fork to push them around in the sugar, until coated. Carefully remove to a cooling rack. Repeat with all the cranberries, adding more fresh sugar to the plate as needed. Allow to stand at room temperature several hours, until dried. Once dried, you can store in an airtight container and use as needed.
- For the Cinnamon Candied Pecans: Preheat the oven to 250F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Add the water, vanilla, white sugar, cinnamon and salt and whisk to combine well. Place the pecans in another medium bowl. Add about half of the egg white mixture to the pecans and stir to coat. Add more egg white mixture as needed to just thoroughly coat the pecans. You may not need it all.
- Scatter coated pecans on to the prepared baking sheet in an even layer, with as much space in between as you can. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, or until the coating is dried and "candied". Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet, then remove to an airtight container to store, breaking them apart in to individual pecans, as needed.
- For the Cranberry Onion Marmalade: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cook stirring, until onion begins to soften. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Allow to cook until the water disappears. Add another 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Allow to cook again until the water disappears. Continue this process, adding 1/4 cup water twice more, until the onions are very soft .
- Meanwhile, combine the dried cranberries, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When you have added all the water. Add the cranberry/sugar/balsamic vinegar mixture to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and the liquid has become syrupy, about 10-15 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Remove to a small bowl or jar. Allow to cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate to use as needed.
- For the Platter: Transfer some onion marmalade to a small bowl or jar. Add some spreadable goat cheese to another small bowl or jar. Place in the middle of the platter. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary between the two jars. Add a section of prosciutto and/or porchetta, a section of sliced pears, a section of candied pecans and a couple of sections of lavash crackers. Scatter some sugared cranberries here and there to fill in. Enjoy!