Sage Cranberry Appetizers
Shop your winter market for the cheeses of your choice, bunches of sage, and, of course, cranberries to make this crispy and delicious holiday hors d’oeuvre.
• ½ pound (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
• ½ cup water
• ½ cup brown or white sugar
• ½ pound frozen phyllo dough, thawed in refrigerator
• 6 ounces (¾ cup) butter, melted
• 20-25 fresh sage leaves
• 8 ounces local cheese
(We loved chèvre in these, but what about Shy Brothers Shallot Hannahbells, Foxboro Cheese Company’s Lemon Honey Fromage Blanc, or even Narragansett Creamery’s Atwells Gold). Simmer cranberries, water, and sugar together in medium saucepan, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes, or until berries explode and sauce thickens nicely. Set aside to cool. (Feel free to substitute 1½ cups premade whole cranberry sauce here, if convenient.)
Have all the ingredients ready to go. Once you’ve unwrapped the phyllo, lay it out on a dry counter with a piece of plastic wrap and a towel over it to maintain moisture. If you plan to bake the appetizers right away, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay out a sheet of phyllo on a dry surface, and butter it well using a pastry brush. Lay another sheet on top, and butter it too. Use a sharp knife to cut 13”-long strips. (Assuming your phyllo measures 13”x9”, you should get 3 strips about 2½” wide.) Dab about a teaspoon of cranberry sauce at the foot of each strip. Top with one sage leaf (or half, if huge), and a small blob or cube of cheese (about the diameter of a nickel). Fold one corner across to enclose the filling, and then the other corner, and so on up the strip, forming a snug triangle (recall flag-folding back in scouting…). Repeat to use up pastry and filling. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart. (If you would like to hold them refrigerated overnight, place in airtight container with waxed paper between layers. Transfer to baking sheet and proceed to bake at cocktail time.) Bake until golden brown (8-10 minutes). Let cool for several minutes and serve.
Makes about 30 hors d’oeuvres.