Let me start by telling you the most common thing I hear after I have served these cranberry goat cheese pudding layers to guests: “More, please!” These little darlings are deliberately made small — not to deprive anyone, but because they are oh so rich and too much would be too much. But no matter how rich and filling they might be, those who indulge want the experience to continue. Make extra and keep them in the kitchen so you can comply with such requests.
Since the holidays are often filled with lengthy to-do lists, you will breathe a sigh of relief when I tell you these require almost no prep. They go together in mere minutes, yet they stand out among the many holiday treats that are far too boring and ordinary. With just three ingredients (seriously!!!), these are minor miracles. Be grateful.
- Cranberry coated goat cheese log
- Pre-made vanilla pudding (I use sugar-free Jello brand)
- Whipped cream (make it yourself, or buy the squirtie stuff. I make mine so I can make it sugar-free, but suit yourself.)
- Sour cream (optional, read below)
Your first mission is to assemble the ingredients and keep them on hand. The tricky part, depending upon where you live, might be the cranberry-coated goat cheese log. If you have access to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or other gourmet grocery store, you should find them. If not, you could always buy a simple log of goat cheese and roll it in cranberries that you have cooked low and slow with some Splenda or sugar for long enough to make the mixture thicken. Drain the juices, let the mixture cool, then roll your log. Do NOT use dried, sweetened cranberries (the things that are like raisins). That is not an appropriate substitute here.
Empty the little tubs of pudding into a quart baggie. I find they are too sweet for my taste as-is, so I thin them out with some whipped cream for a lighter taste or a little sour cream for a little different taste.
Snip a little corner off one corner of your baggie. That is where you will squirt the pudding from. If you instead try to spoon it into your little containers, you will be frustrated with the mess you create. Follow my advice and plan to squirt it out a corner of a baggie. You’re welcome.
One more tip. Don’t sully all the corners of your bag before you cut your tip off. The tip should be cut off a clean corner of the baggie.
Slice the goat cheese into slices, then cut the slices into halves. It is going to crumble and break apart, but that is not a problem. You just want to make sure you have small pieces, not big globs.
Choose cute little containers to serve these in. And if your containers are small, you will want to corral them on a tray of some sort, or a flat plate so that you can enter the dining room with several at once and not create a mess.
Put the opening of your baggie deep into each little container and give a squirt. Remember — this is a layered dessert. A little pudding mix, followed by a piece of goat cheese, then the whipped cream. Repeat until you’ve topped out.
If you can get two layers of each, that is best, then top with more whipped cream and a little dollop of cranberry-crusted goat cheese.
The two pictured above illustrate what happens when you put your whipped cream on too early. The whipped topping should go on top at the very end, just before your serve. Also keep in mind that if your containers are smallish, you need small spoons to get down into them. Provide your guests with the appropriate utensils.
These are everything you could wish for at Christmas. Keep these ingredients on hand. You will want to make more.
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