You won’t believe how easy these unique holiday appetizers are to make.

If like me, you are one of those party hosts that wants to join the fun rather than spending the whole time in the kitchen, I have a solution for you.

Turn to Italian cuisine, pick a number of their amazing appetizers, which in most cases can be prepared in advance, and you will minimize the time spend in the kitchen while at the same time wowing everybody with delicious food.

Festive appetizers: Crostini with Coffee Mousse, Zucchini and Fig

Crostini are among the most favourite and easy to make appetizers that everybody will love.

These Italian appetizers consist of small slices of grilled, toasted, or fried bread while the variety of different toppings are limited by your own imagination only.

Their origin is believed to go back to the Middle Ages when the poor instead of placing their food on plates (which they could not afford) on bread.

Today, whatever you want to put on top will work, but still the most classic type of crostini are Crostini Toscani (Crostini from Tuscany). These are traditionally drizzled with olive oil and topped with liver pâté.

However, toppings like cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables and certain fruits (pear and figs come to mind immediately) are now common as well.

A (quite heavy) tweak on the traditional Crostini Toscani are these crostini topped with coffee mousse, fried zucchini, and fig.

Festive appetizers: Crostini with Coffee Mousse, Zucchini and Fig

They do require a bit of preparation ahead for the mousse (ideally the day before) but are otherwise assembled quickly. So they are perfect to outshine the more traditional toppings while at the same time do not require to spend an awful lot of time away from your guests in the kitchen.

The savoury yet still slightly sweet coffee mousse is the perfect contrast to the grilled zucchini, while the figs will add another delicious layer of sweet freshness.

Recipe: Crostini with Coffee Mousse, Zucchini and Fig

Serves 8-10 slices

150 ml white wine
100 ml heavy cream
2 sheets of gelatin
1 onion, finely chopped
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
1 clove
30 ml freshly brewed espresso
balsamic vinegar
1 zucchini, sliced
2-3 figs, quartered
olive oil
8-10 slices white bread


Prepare the coffee mousse the day before.

Soak the gelatin in cold water.

In a small saucepan, add the wine, onion, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, and the clove. Season with some pepper. Bring to boil and reduce to about 20 ml.

Pour through a fine sieve, then add the espresso.

Beat the egg yolk together with the wine-coffee mix over a bain marie until creamy.

Dissolve the gelatin in a separate saucepan, then stir into the egg mixture.

Set aside to let cool a bit.

Beat the heavy cream until stiff and fold into the egg mixture. Season with some drops of tabasco and balsamic vinegar.

Refrigerate for at least four hours or better overnight.

To prepare the costini, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the bread and fry until golden-brown. Set aside to let cool a bit (for about 10 minutes).

In the meantime, add more olive oil to the skillet and fry the zucchini.

Spread the coffee mousse onto the bread then top with fried zucchini and figs.

Festive appetizers: Crostini with Coffee Mousse, Zucchini and Fig