Goat Cheese Tarts with Cranberry Jam

Remember those Educational Seasonings from last year that I always blogged about?  They're baaaa-aack! I've been working at the retail cafe on campus since October and we finally re-staffed it to where I am able to work back in the dining hall, meaning I am able to get back to doing the seasonings I love to do.  This month's Educational Seasoning was "The Art of Folding Napkins", which, to me, was rather boring.  Compared to "Local Produce", "Chocolate", "Southeastern Asian Cuisine", and the like, it was hard to get excited about napkins.  However, I was able to make one cute little appetizer and they came out great!  The tarts are sweet and savory, making them perfect for a dinner party, so when you don't know what to make next time your neighbors invite you over, just remember you'll only need a few ingredients from the store (and a few you should surely have on-hand), and a few minutes of your time.  Enjoy!

What You'll Need:
  • 2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (KATE'S lovely idea!)
  • 48 mini phyllo shells
  • Chopped mint, garnish optional

1.  In a small saucepan, mix the cranberries, water, sugar, and syrup and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.  While this is simmering, beat cream cheese, goat cheese, and spices in a bowl with a hand mixer until smooth.  Set aside.  When cranberries have cooked down and are soft, put in a blender with orange juice.  Pulse until you have the consistency of jam/marmalade.

2.  Place empty phyllo cups on baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven until golden brown.  Fill with a teaspoon of goat cheese mixture and top with a dollop of cranberry jam.  Continue until all phyllo cups are filled.  Platter nicely and sprinkle with chopped mint.  Voila!

I was simply going to put the cranberry mixture from the stove on top of the goat cheese, but my wonderful friend Kate decided it would be a good idea to put it in the food processor with some orange juice.  It was a much better plan.  Here she is, hand-modeling for an action shot!


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