Baked stuffed dates are edible jewels. They’re crispy-bacon-coated, tender mouthfuls of salty-sweet, savory treats. The dates are like smooth caramels, and the surprise cheese filling is the “oh-yeah” factor. I like to make a platter full, set them on the counter, and let my guests help themselves. They’re not shy.
Bacon makes everything better
Bacon. I said it. I know last year was the Year of the Pig, but I think bacon is forever. Wrapping fat around food to infuse flavor (barding) is an ancient-old technique but always welcome in the form of a party appetizer. Right?
Dates are more than just blind or from hell. They’re an absolutely delicious dried fruit. I’m going to start a campaign and get everyone to eat them. I’ve been cycling through the dried fruit wheel this winter, and right now it’s all about dates. The sweetness is balanced. They’re neither sour nor flat. They are a great alternative to the played out (I’m pretty much done with dried cranberries). You can find whole dried dates in major grocery stores. They’re typically split and pitted — just asking to be stuffed.
Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates Recipe
- ½ cup goat cheese
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- 20 whole dried dates, split, pitted
- 7 slices of bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
- Place oven rack on the bottom level. Set the oven to BAKE 400°.
- Combine cheeses together until smooth.
- Open each date and stuff with 1 full teaspoon of the cheese mixture. Pinch the dates closed, though they won’t close completely.
- Wrap each date securely in a piece of bacon and arrange the dates, seam side down, on baking sheet or broiler pan.
- Bake the stuffed dates on one side for 10 minutes. Flip the dates over with a fork or wooden spoon.
- Cook dates for another 5-8 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crispy.
- Transfer dates onto paper towel to absorb excess fat. Serve stuffed dates warm or at room temperature, on a clean platter.
I’ve read recipes where both cheese and an almond are stuffed into the dates. I’ve also had stuffed dates that weren’t baked because they were not wrapped in anything that needed to be cooked, like bacon.
You can substitute bacon with prosciutto or thin slices of pancetta. These meats are cured and ready to eat, so you don’t have to bake them –- it’s up to you –- just cut back on the cooking time by half.