Impress your guests this holiday season with these Pumpkin & Brie Crostini with Candied Nuts. They look totally fancy, but they’re 100% achievable for home cooks of all levels!
You might not have been expecting a recipe like this from me this fall, after my admission last year that I don’t really like pumpkin. But some weird part of my personality has a hard time accepting that there could be foods I don’t like.
I PRIDE myself on being the least picky eater anybody will ever meet! So, just like I forced myself to eat one olive per day for a month until I liked olives (really, I did that, and it worked), I also make it a point to try foods I “don’t like” at least once a year.
It’s easy to remember my yearly taste test with pumpkin, because let’s face it: Americans are pumpkin crazed in the fall.
While pumpkin coffee drinks don’t sound appealing to me (yuck) and pumpkin pasta sauces are just too much to handle, I settled on a small bite pumpkin appetizer (designed for holiday entertaining) this year.
And it was a small bite paired with lots of things I DO like: brie (yes!), candied nuts (loooove!), toasted bread (what ISN’T great on toasted bread?).
And you know what? I totally enjoyed these Pumpkin & Brie Crostini with Candied Nuts, as did the family and friends I shared them with, as part of my Thanksgiving recipes spread.
The pumpkin flavor and texture is definitely there, but the predominant combination of the melty brie and candied nuts is the hero here.
Heads up – this recipe is really good with puréed butternut squash, too 😉
Tips for making your Pumpkin & Brie Crostini with Candied Nuts a success:
- With the soft pumpkin puree and the soft cheese going on top, you want the crostini to be REALLY crunchy (almost like a cracker). Toast baguette slices in your oven at home (method below), or, if your store’s bakery offers pre-toasted crostini, take them up on the shortcut <—- I do this every once in awhile and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.
- I love brie because it’s so buttery and melts like a dream (see also: Savory Baked Brie). Heads up: it’s easiest to cut the brie into wedges as soon as it comes out of the fridge. After that, proceed with the rest of the steps of your recipe as the cheese comes to room temperature. When you pop the crostini in the oven, the cheese should melt nice and evenly.
- By design, the candied nuts in this recipe will be somewhat “wet,” so don’t panic if there’s some extra melted butter in the pan. I like that there’s a little extra brown sugary butter to spoon over the cheese.
- On that note, the candied nuts are REALLY good and so snackable. If you’re afraid you (or your family) might snack on them before they ever reach a crostini, it’s best to make a double batch.
- I used half pecans, half walnuts for these Pumpkin & Brie Crostini with Candied Nuts, but you can use all pecans, all walnuts, or even almonds.
- I sprinkled fresh rosemary on at the end for an herby note as well as a pop of color. Thyme and sage work too, if you have either of those on hand!
- If you have extra rosemary (you will!) – try out something new with my rosemary simple syrup and then whip up a lemon and bourbon sour rosemary cocktail or a rosemary gin cocktail.
For the Candied Nuts:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch cayenne
- pinch kosher salt
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
For the Crostini:
- 2/3 baguette, sliced into 1/3-inch-thick pieces (16 pieces)
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
- 1 (8 ounce) round Joan of Arc Brie Cheese, cut into 16 wedges
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, for garnish
- Make the Candied Nuts: Add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt to medium nonstick skillet. Heat over medium-high heat until butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Add pecans and walnuts. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently (mixture will be wet). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
- Make the Crostini: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place baguette slices on rimmed baking pan and lightly spray both sides with cooking spray. Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until very crisp, turning once. Leave oven on.
- Spread each crostini with scant 2 tablespoons pumpkin. Top each crostini with 1 wedge brie. Transfer crostini to oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes or until brie is melted.
- Spoon Candied Nuts over crostini. Sprinkle crostini with rosemary and serve immediately.
More great crostini ideas:
- Smoked Salmon Crostini – with a sushi-style twist!
- Pizza Crostini Bar – set this up for a party!
- Butternut Squash & Pomegranate Crostini with Whipped Feta & Honey – one of my favorite recipes on this blog!
- Raisin Crostini with Blue Cheese & Apples – another good recipe for the fall.
- Honey, Walnut & Goat Cheese Crostini by The Wanderlust Kitchen
- Roasted Mushroom Crostini from The Little Ferraro Kitchen