Good fresh fruit-based appetizer for Christmas brunch?
December 12, 2016 12:16 PM   Subscribe

I volunteered to bring a fruit-based dish to my family's Christmas brunch. I am looking for a recipe that involves fresh in-season fruit like (oranges or pears) that is not too complicated, but a bit fancier than just slicing some stuff up and arranging it artfully on a plate.

I have seen Smitten Kitchen's Winter Fruit Salad but that's a bit more complicated than I'd like (and I don't want to go buy expensive ingredients like anise that I'll probably never use again). I am considering doing these Oranges in Champagne Syrup (but would need to use something like apple cider as there is one family member that can't have alcohol). Open to any additional ideas! The 'lighter' the better, as I expect our other dishes to be pretty rich/heavy. Thanks in advance.
posted by lovableiago to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I would recommend this particular winter fruit salad from Gimme Some Oven. The seasonal fruits and fresh ingredients will be a welcome compliment to the rich/heavy dishes on the table.
posted by nathaole at 12:26 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could set some fruit in gelatin, custard, or pudding.
posted by as_night_falls at 12:27 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Orange Salad (4 servings)
4 large oranges, peeled, sectioned and cut into bite size pieces
125 gr. black olives, pitted and halved
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp cumin & chili pepper
olive oil
Mix oranges, olives and scallions. Sprinkle with cumin and chili pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
posted by florencetnoa at 12:32 PM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

I love to recommend MFK Fisher's Ambrosia for fruit desserts & brunches. It's simple yet elegant. Also, delicious.

MFK Fisher's ambrosia (no marshmallows need apply):

alternate layers of the following in a shallow dish

6 fine oranges (sliced or sectioned)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups grated coconut (fresh preferred)

the pour a wine glass full of good sherry over it and chill.
From An Alphabet for Gourmets.

Mixed citrus fruit would be especially pretty: half oranges & half pink grapefruit. Blood oranges add a lovely gem-like quality. Satsumas if you want a more complex flavor.

If you need to make it alcohol-free, try a crisp, fresh apple cider for sherry or a white grape juice (if you can, try to get a version made with wine grapes--non alcoholic but totally different flavor--like gewurztraminer juice). Or just use a teaspoon or so of vanilla or almond extract and skip the sherry/juice altogether.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:33 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could buy three little star anise for like $0.50 at Whole Foods or somewhere else with bulk spices, and you could totally sub vanilla extract for the bean. Besides that I think it'd be pretty affordable!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

As an appetizer? Apples dipped in baked brie, prosciutto wrapped melon, sliced pears with blue cheese, walnuts and drizzled honey.
posted by cecic at 12:41 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you aren't on cranberry burnout from Thanksgiving, my version of my family's cranberry relish has always been well-received:

Cranberry Relish

1 large box black cherry Jello (or two small boxes--I like to mix cherry and raspberry if I can't find black cherry);
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups boiling water
½ cup lemon juice
⅔ cup cold water (use the drained pineapple juice as part of this liquid)
1 lb. fresh cranberries, ground
1 medium orange, seeded, but unpeeled and ground
1 tart apple (Granny Smith is best), seeded but unpeeled and chopped finely
8 ¾ oz. canned crushed pineapple (reserve liquid)

Dissolve gelatin and sugar in two cups of boiling water. Add the lemon juice and cold water. Grind
cranberries and orange in food processor. Add to gelatin along with chopped apple and
pineapple. Chill until set, several hours.
posted by phunniemee at 12:42 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Pears with gorgonzola with balsamic honey? It is only a little more complex than slicing but the combination of flavors makes it really interesting and party-worthy.
posted by jessamyn at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2016 [10 favorites]

If you put chunks of fruit on kebab skewers, it's suddenly a fancy appetizer instead of a fruit salad. Optional, pick a garnish that pairs well with the primary fruits you're using (apples/pears and cheese; pear or melons and proscuitto; citrus and avocado with a mint leaf garnish)
posted by aimedwander at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Peel and thinly slice oranges into rounds. Arrange on plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Eat.

This is a Moroccan recipe that my family started making after I discovered it for a school project years ago. It's now our go-to holiday brunch fruit plate.
posted by olinerd at 1:15 PM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

This wild rice salad with cranberries works well with oranges in it even if it doesn't include it explicitly in the recipe I've linked to!
posted by gemutlichkeit at 1:18 PM on December 12, 2016

This citrus platter is gorgeous if you can get unusual colors of citrus.
posted by potrzebie at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2016

it isn't particularly holiday-traditional but what about a thai style pomelo salad?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've done the Smitten Kitchen Winter Fruit Salad. It's really easy (I'm pretty beginner-level in the kitchen). I didn't buy anise. I also didn't use as much sugar as the recipe called for. Oh, and I bought pre-seeded pomegranate seeds.
posted by radioamy at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2016

Som tam phonlamai is amazing.
posted by praemunire at 1:25 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fruit pizza, baked sugar cookie crust, cream cheese sauce, mandarin sections, peach wedges dates apricots tart dried cherries as toppings, drizzle with lime .
posted by hortense at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding setting the fruit in gelatin. I've done this twice with a regular loaf pan (I'm sure you could use any pan of similar volume), once with rosé, once with crisp apple cider (nonalcoholic). Was delicious both times, served with crème fraîche. If you're switching up the fruits, make sure none of them are anti-gelatin (like kiwi or pineapple).

I think pears would be delish. Apricots and figs, too.
posted by stoneandstar at 1:48 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also came in to say fruit pizza. My cousin makes these for family gatherings, they are super pretty and very good: Fruit Pizzas.

Another really good fruit dessert that gets raves is Grape Salad. It doesn't sound like much but the combo fruity-creamy-crunchy is amazingly delicious: Creamy Crunchy Grape Salad
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

You could make a fruit tart!
posted by likeatoaster at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2016

Came in to recommend the Moroccan orange dish, but since olinerd already did that, I'll suggest a Sicilian salad with oranges, olives and fennel. The recipe has arugula as well and it is delicious, but I've had it without the arugula and that was very good as well, if you are not so much into the bitterness of arugula
posted by mumimor at 3:18 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

This endive dish seems nice.
posted by vunder at 3:54 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I second something like that endive dish. We get that at a local tapas place and it's delicious.

Less appetizer-ish and more side-dish-ish, but there are a lot of "massaged" kale salads that feature fruit (usually orange, but sometimes grapefruit) that you can play with the proportions of once you have the technique down. I don't have a specific recipe, but searching for "massaged kale salad" should give you enough ideas. Depending on what else is served, this could be a good counterpoint (while most are more kale-heavy, you could always do more fruit heavy). I think a lot of fruit dishes come across as too sweet -- these kale salads have the advantage of being less so or not at all.
posted by darksong at 6:43 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hilariously, I also discovered the above Moroccan orange recipe for a school project, and it is pretty simple and tasty, and definitely fits the winter fruits and flavors bill.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:10 PM on December 13, 2016

How about trifle? You can make it fairly big on the fruit and reduce the custard/cream component, and make it without jelly if that makes it a bit glutinous. Here's a fairly simple, light recipe.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 3:08 AM on December 14, 2016

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