Cheese Pumpkin Appetizers
This year, we are inviting a few friends over for Trick-or-Treat, and I was getting anxious about finalizing some simple Halloween Recipes that are easy to make yet dazzling enough to impress our guests. I already knew what I would serve for dessert, but it was the appetizer that needed some thought. I do not like to serve, nor eat seriously spooky or gory-looking stuff for food; I wanted something cute, yet festive enough to fit the theme. So I was very happy when I discovered these Cheese Pumpkin appetizers on Michelle’s blog. Woman’s Day [photo by Lain Bagwell] had a simpler version too, so I used both recipes and added a fruity flavor to it. They are not only cute, they are extremely delicious too! I just made one small batch for a test run, and they came out amazing! This is definitely going to be on my Halloween Menu, and if you are looking for a simple recipe that makes a big statement, then you have got to try this too. I did make a few interesting additions to the recipe though, which I share with you below.
I love the pairing of fruits with cheese, and as I wanted to make these cute appetizers to appeal to the kids and adults alike, I added a rolled-up ball of Herbed Goat Cheese inside each pumpkin, and also squeezed in a couple of Craisins inside the cheese. This gives it an interesting sweet and salty taste that will surely be a hit with the adults. For the kids platter, you can leave out the goat cheese as it has a characteristic salty flavor that might not work well with the underdeveloped palate of the tiny tots. You can use parsley, basil or cilantro, whatever is available to you, to garnish the pumpkin tops.
The Ritz crackers serve as a perfect base for the pumpkins, so they don’t roll off the plate or get mushed, but you can use any other cracker that you like. The most important part though, is to make sure you use absolutely chilled cheese, otherwise it will be hard to mold your pumpkins. Everything else is a breeze!
If you don’t have pretzel sticks on and, that’s fine too. Just skip the stems and use parsley leaves to garnish the top, as shown in the pic. Serve these with a soup on the side for a lovely appetizer combo!
- 8 tbsp smoked Cheddar cheese - chilled
- 4 tbsp herbed goat cheese - chilled
- finely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 20 Ritz crackers
- pretzel sticks, broken in half
- fresh parsley leaves - for garnish
- a few Craisins (optional, I put them inside the filling)
- Take your goat cheese and divide it into very small balls that can be hidden inside your cheddar pumpkin balls. Hide a piece or two of craisins inside. These balls should resemble M&M;'s in size.
- Now take one tablespoon of cold pack cheddar cheese. Flatten it in your palm, then place the goat cheese ball inside, and roll over it to make a cheddar cheese ball; place on waxed paper-lined serving plate. Finish making all the balls like this. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes for easier handling.
- With the end of a toothpick, draw ridges around balls to resemble the lines on a pumpkin. Dip bottoms of cheese balls in chopped walnuts or pecans. Again store them in the refrigerator, until time to serve.
- Just before serving, insert pretzel halves into cheese balls to make pumpkin stems and place each pumpkin on a cracker. Decorate with parsley to make leaves. Serve immediately along with other appetizers.
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