Additional English cucumber, thinly sliced, for serving
Thinly sliced radishes, for serving
Caramelized Butternut Squash & Cranberry Topping:
2 cups peeled, cubed, and seeded butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh sage
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
Another drizzle of balsamic vinegar, for serving
Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Dip with Soppresata:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1 (8 oz) block of cream cheese
8 oz gruyere cheese, grated
Thinly sliced soppresata, for serving
Cinnamon raisin or cranberry bread
Whole grain/seeded bread
Fresh or dried figs
Crackers or breadsticks
Flowers, for decorating
Mini, pumpkins for decorating
For the Whipped Feta:
Place the feta cheese in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely broken up. Add in the cream cheese, garlic, and thyme and blend the mixture until completely smooth.
Add in the wine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend again. Transfer the dip to a container, cover, and chill for a couple hours before eating. You can definitely eat it right away, but I find that it tastes even better after the flavors have some time to meld.
For the Honey-Balsamic Roasted Grapes Topping:
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the grapes out in an even layer and then drizzle with the oil, honey, and vinegar. Season generously with salt.
Roast for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, or until the grapes begin to blister and the liquids become syrupy.
Cool slightly and then transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with fresh herbs.
I like this crostini on the sweet bread (cinnamon raisin/cranberry), topped with a layer of the whipped feta and then a spoonful of the grapes and their juices.
For the Cucumber Tzatziki Topping:
Grate the peeled cucumber on a box grater. Place the grated flesh in a fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towels. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the cucumber and then place it in a bowl.
To the bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. The sauce can be made a few days ahead (which makes it taste even better).
I like this crostini on one of the savory breads (pumpernickel is delicious!). Spread some of the tzatziki on the bread and top with slices of cucumber, radish, and a few pinches of fresh dill.
For the Caramelized Butternut Squash & Cranberry Topping:
I make this topping at the same time as the roasted grapes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and spread the cubed squash out in an even layer.
Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and season with the salt and spices. Add a few teaspoons of chopped fresh sage.
Roast in the oven, stirring once or twice, for 20-25 minutes or until the squash is tender and caramelized in spots.
Add the dried fruit directly to the sheet pan and toss to combine.
Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with a little more balsamic vinegar, and serve warm or at room temperature.
This topping is delicious on its own or paired with the whipped feta. I like it on any bread option!
For the Caramelized Onion & Gruyere Cheese Spread with Soppresata:
Melt the butter and oil together in a skillet.
Add the onion and cook over medium heat for a few minutes.
Reduce the heat and add the sugar and a good pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the onions to a bowl and add the cream cheese and gruyere. Stir well to combine, and season, to taste with a little salt and pepper.
Spoon the dip/spread into a bowl and serve with the sliced soppresata alongside.
To make these crostini, spoon some of the cheese dip/spread onto a piece of bread and top with a couple slices of the soppresata.
For the Bread:
I like to toast some of the bread and leave some untoasted.
Line your sliced bread up in an even layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt.
Toast in a 400°F oven for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is golden around the edges and crisp.
All of the toppings can be made completely ahead and served at room temperature (or warmed up before serving, if that’s preferred).
I suggest making everything ahead, including slicing up your bread. Toast off your bread before serving and set up the crostini bar so that everyone can top toasts however they like.
You can also adjust the sizing of this to your needs. Have a small group? Pick 2-3 toppings and 2 bread options. Fill in with your favorite fruits and snacky bites! This is a highly customizable idea.