Apparently spring is arriving early this year for the south. The crepe myrtle trees in our backyard started budding this week. All I know is spring needs to stick around, because I am not ready for a Houston summer. If spring has sprung early for you this year, my refreshing and Blackberry Blue Cheese Endive Boats are perfect for a springtime brunch or garden party! The bright green tips of the endive filled with deep purple juicy blackberries is the perfect color contrast.
Belgian endives are one of my favorite vegetables of all time. They are light and crunchy, and typically available all year round. After making this recipe, I learned that Belgian endives are actually the leaves of a chicory root plant (yep – like chicory root coffee!). The flavor combination of the endive, blackberry, blue cheese and lightly sweetened pecans work in perfect harmony in this recipe. The endives are low carb (.08 net carbs per ounce), and packed with vitamin K. I find it helpful to look for endives that are about the length of your hand and consistently sized.
Blackberries are in peak season during the summer months, but I have found some sweet and amazing ones at the store lately. I find these juicy little nuggets are most ripe when they are very dark in color. An entire pint of blackberries weighing in at 170 grams is only 7 net carbs. Since each endive gets one blackberry, eating 3 to 5 pieces should have a minimal impact on your carb count if you’re being carb-conscious.
Blue Cheese & Pecans
I love blue cheese…blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing, and even blue cheese slices for burgers. This recipe uses a 2:1 ratio of blue cheese to cream cheese to make sure the blue flavor doesn’t get lost in these Blackberry Blue Cheese Endive Boats. I used pungent soft blue cheese in my recipe today, but any slightly creamy, crumbly blue should do.
The pecans – the sweet star of these bite-sized appetizers. At first, I was going to use roasted and salted pecans, but decided against it. I felt the slightly sweet pecan would balance the bitter endive, blackberry, and tangy blue cheese. Toss the pecans in butter and a dash of sugar or Truvia. Roast the pecans in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant, and you are all set.
Piping & Plating
After prepping all of your ingredients, pipe the blue cheese mix at the base of each endive. Nestle a blackberry into the blue cheese and top with a sprinkle of sweetened pecans. Plate and serve.
I hope you love these little endive, blackberry and blue cheese appetizers as much as I do. Depending on the size of the endive and how generous you are with the fillers, you may or may not use all the ingredients. I hope you enjoy! Happy snacking!
Blackberry Blue Cheese Endive Boats
These little bite-sized treats have the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. They are crisp and refreshing, and great for early spring and summer parties.
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 4 oz whole pecans
- 1 tbsp Truvia or sugar or other sugar substitute
Blue Cheese Mixture
- 4 ehol Belgian endive
- 6 oz blue cheese
- 3 oz cream cheese
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 pint blackberries
Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Melt the 2 tbsp of butter in a microwave safe container until melted, about 15 to 20 seconds. Place the pecans in a medium bowl, and pour the melted butter over the pecans. Mix with a silicone spatula to evenly coat the pecans in butter. Once coated, sprinkle the 1 tbsp of Truvia/sugar over the pecans.
Place the pecans on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast in the oven until fragrant and slightly browned, about 12 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
Blue Cheese Mixture
In a small food processor, blend the blue cheese, cream cheese and heavy cream until smooth and well blended. Use a spatula to push mix down toward the blades if necessary. Make sure to get the cheese as smooth as possible, so you don't run into big chunks when you get to the piping step.
Once blended, spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. If you don't have a piping bag and tips, you can use a Ziploc bag with a small hole snipped in one corner. Set the filled bag aside while you prepare the endives.
Assembling the Endives
Cut the butts of the Belgian endives. Pull off any outer leaves that are cracked or damaged and discard along with the butts. Select non-blemished similar-sized leaves to use. Place the leaves in a single layer on a plate or cutting board for filling.
Pipe a small round of blue cheese/cream cheese mixture on to the white inner part of the endive leaf (the part that was closest to the butt/connection point). Then place one blackberry per leaf above the piped cheese mixture.
Next, dump your cooled pecans in a Ziploc bag, wrap it in a towel, and use a blunt object to crush the pecans (like a rolling pin). You can also pulse them in a food processor, but be sure not to over-chop them. The pieces should be large enough to show texture on the endive. Sprinkle the chopped, sweetened pecans above the blackberries in the endive leaves.
Transfer the filled endives to a dish for plating (if not already done) and serve.
Estimated Nutrition per Endive:
Calories: 50; Total Fat: 4 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 6 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 1 g; Fiber: 0.5 g; Sugar: 0.5 g; NET CARBS: 0.5 g; Protein: 1 g