The highly versatile “Gruyere” is delicious in this easily made appetizer. Great party food!
For each croustade, you will need one thin slice of a baguette, about 1 generous tablespoon of the gruyere, one slice of pear, and then a half-teaspoon or so of the red wine glaze. Thus, the recipe below will yield about 16 croustades, depending on the circumference of the baguette, enough for about 8 people for cocktails, presuming each person has two. You can make the red wine glaze days ahead and refrigerate until needed, reheating while the croustade bakes in the oven.
First, make the Gruyere:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 – 8 hours and drained
½ cup rejuvelac (a fermented grain drink & a non-dairy source of acidophilus available at natural food stores or can be made at home – there are many recipes for this online)
¼ cup refined coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon medium miso
1 teaspoon sea salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl or jar, cover loosely, and let sit on your counter for 24 hours until thickened. It will become more flavorful and cheeselike as it cultures. Now, it is ready to use in your croustades.
Preheat oven to 400°.
1 cup soft Gruyere
About 2 firm but ripe pears, sliced about 1/3” thick
About ½ a baguette sliced into sixteen 1/3-inch thick slices
To assemble the croustade, merely spread a thick layer of gruyere onto the baguette slices. Top with a slice of pear. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes until the edges of the “cheese” have begun to brown slightly. Top with a dash of the glaze and serve immediately.
If you like a richer flavor, you can brush olive oil on one side of the bread (the side without the cheese and pear) before baking. I find that the oil-free version is just as delicious.
Red wine glaze:
1 ½ cups red wine
2 – 3 Tbs. Agave
¼ tsp. Sea salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 – 2 tsp. Arrowroot dissolved in a tablespoon of water
Combine all of the items except the arrowroot in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to less than ½ cup. If you are serving immediately, dissolve the arrowroot in the water and add whisk into the hot red wine mixture, stirring until lightly thickened. If you are making this ahead of time, go ahead and refrigerate, but reheat prior to serving and thicken with arrowroot as described.