I am sure most of you are thinking, “Ooh yum, goat cheese, apple, hazelnut, wait…WTF is cajeta?”. I’m just going to let you know right now, cajeta is your new main squeeze. Cajeta is like the hotter and more exotic cousin of dulce de leche – the one you wish you would have met first. Just like her cousin, cajeta is a slowly simmered caramel sauce made from sweetened milk and spices. What sets cajeta apart is that it’s made from goats milk rather than cows milk, balancing the super sweetness with a tangy and tart complexity.
I developed a major crush on cajeta in Portland at a bbq hosted by my lovely friend and neighbor, Jenn. With time and distance, my feelings faded since I hadn’t seen the stuff since. Then, I had a brief encounter with cajeta again a few months back when a coworker at the bakery brought in some adorably tiny, individual serving sized, wooden boxes of cajeta (complete with teeny wooden spoons!) that his mom brought back from Mexico. My crush on cajeta came rushing back and I have obsessed over it since.
Recently, Jenn came to visit me in Santa Barbara and you’ll never guess what she brought? (actually you probably will) Yup, a coveted little a jar of golden sweet cajeta from Portland Creamery! I busted right into that jar of yum and my feelings for that tart little sweet thang were instantly reaffirmed. I had to have more, immediately.
I planned to make a full on dessert featuring the Portland Creamery jar of cajeta but I couldn’t wait that long. So, for now, here is a little something to get us all over the hump until I dream up a fancy cajeta drenched dessert.
This quick and easy recipe for Goat Cheese, Apple, Hazelnut and Cajeta Crostini brings instant gratification and a surprising amount of character. The crispy-crunch of toasted baguette with a hint of olive oil serves as the base. Then, the crostini get schmeared with a slathering of softened, ripe goat cheese, and topped with a slice of sweet and crisp apple. I used Opal apples which are apparently a cross Golden Delicious and Topaz. Also, they don’t brown! What?!
Toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts bring warm nuttiness and welcome crunch to the mix. And finally, the crème de la crème of the whole situation – a rich and enchanting drizzle of cajeta.
The lesson of today is to break off your relationship with dulce de leche and seek out her sassy cousin, cajeta. Accept that you are going to fall head over heels for cajeta and make this recipe for Goat Cheese, Apple, Hazelnut and Cajeta Crostini. You’re gonna love it, I promise.
- rustic French baguette - 1
- EVOO - 1-2 tablespoons
- soft ripened goat cheese - 4-5 ounces
- crisp sweet apple - 1
- hazelnuts - 1/3 cup
- cajeta - 2-3 tablspoons
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Slice baguette into 1/2" thick slices, spread on a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO. Spread the hazelnuts on a separate baking sheet.
- Bake the baguette and hazelnuts at the same time for 5-7 minutes until the bread is toasty and golden and the hazelnuts give off a nutty aroma.
- Allow both to cool. *the hazelnuts may take a couple of minutes longer than the baguette.
- Slice the apple into thin slices.
- Roll the hazelnuts around in a clean dish towel or cheesecloth to remove most of the skins. Give them a rough chop and set aside.
- Smear each crostini with about 1 - 1/2 teaspoons of goat cheese.
- Top with an apple slice, chopped hazelnuts and finish by drizzling with as much cajeta as your little heart desires.
- Pairs very nicely with a bottle of crisp hard cider.