Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apricots and Amaretto Cream with Teriyaki Walnuts

I took this photograph several weeks ago at a party I catered. Doesn't it remind you of so many of the colors of autumn leaves? I didn't post the recipe then because I was saving it for now when I think it's the perfect time to serve these bite size morsels. They're a different twist from the typical appetizer fare and are perfect to serve before a big holiday meal because they aren't so filling. Inevitably, takers always remark about their abundant pop-with-savory-sweet flavor! 

By the way, this is a great time to remind you about the method for preparing and baking a turkey, check out last year's post I posted on November 9th, entitled, A Thanksgiving you will not soon forget...stay tuned, I'll be Addressing the Dressing over the weekend. 

Tidbits for perfection: Choose dried apricots that give to the touch. I especially like the dried apricots from Trader Joe's. You can prepare the teriyaki walnuts and amaretto cream mixture in advance. Up to a few hours prior to serving you can top dried apricots with amaretto cream mixture, top with a walnut, however, just before serving.

Amaretto Cream

One 8-ounce package light cream cheese, softened
4 teaspoons apricot jam
1 tablespoon amaretto almond liquor

1 pound dried apricots halves

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, apricot jam and amaretto.

Just before serving, spoon about a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on to each apricot halve and top with a teriyaki walnut.

Teriyaki Walnuts

⅓ cup soy sauce or tamari
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4-6 drops TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce or hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cups walnut halves

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce or tamari, rum, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, Tabasco or pepper sauce and brown sugar. Add walnuts and toss with teriyaki mixture. The mixture will seem liquidy, not to worry, it thickens and partially adheres to the walnuts as it cooks. Transfer nuts to a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes tossing nuts halfway through cooking time. Transfer walnuts to a lightly oiled sheet of tin foil, disperse in a single layer and immediately (salt sticks to nuts much better when they are warm) season with salt.  Yield: About 50 pieces.