I'm loving this holiday appetizer I made for a party last week so much that I had to share!
Let it be known that I have a weakness for goat cheese. If I could put it in and on everything I would. Goat cheese sprinkled on salads, pizzas, in omelets and dates are some of my favorite flavor combinations. In being asked to cater this holiday party last week that was primarily heavy appetizers I wanted to do something around the "stuffed date" but didn't want the usual bacon wrapped dates. This recipe is definitely a step up from the norm. In one bite you get the sweet soft flesh of the date with the savory creaminess of the goat cheese and it ends with the smoky and saltiness of the bacon chip. Such a joy to eat and looks so beautiful on the platter when presented. My clients were thoroughly happy and so was I.
Putting it all together is so easy and perfect for the holiday season when your time is limited by hosting an event or by attending one. For a group of 50 I made close to 100 dates buying in bulk at a local Persian market. You can also find at Trader Joes or your local supermarket. Be sure to buy the MEDJOOL dates and not the already pitted dates you sometimes see in sealed containers in the produce section. Those tend to be smaller, tougher and just don't look as nice. The jumbo Medjool dates are larger and soft enough to pry open with your fingers to remove the pit. For presentation sake, I made a careful slice and easily removed the pit and spread the flesh of the date open to fill with the whipped goat cheese/cream cheese mixture I had made previously.
To candy the bacon I simply laid out each bacon slice on a sheet pan and sprinkled brown sugar and chopped rosemary then placed it in the oven at 375 degrees until crispy.
*It's important to let the bacon cool after removing from the oven to harden into a chip that you can cut with a knife or scissors.
It's literally as simple as that, friends. Make the filling using goat cheese, cream cheese and your choice herbs (optional), Pit and fill the dates and garnish with a rosemary candied bacon "chip". So very cute...and delicious!
Goat Cheese Stuffed Medjool Dates with Rosemary Candied Bacon Chip
96 Medjool Dates
1 package bacon - I used regular sliced
2 springs Rosemary - chopped
20 oz Goat Cheese
12 oz Cream Cheese
Chopped Herbs (optional) - I used leftover rosemary
salt and white pepper
- place filling ingredients in a stand mixer or beat with electric hand mixer adding salt and white pepper to taste.
- Assemble dates by first removing pit then filling with cheese mixture.
- Top with Candied Bacon
Some things to note:
The easiest and fastest way to fill the dates is by placing your cheese mix in a piping bag with a wide tip and going down an assembly line garnishing the dates after with the bacon chip.
As always this recipe is best made the day of but the goat cheese dates can be made the day before. The bacon chips should be kept in an airtight container and placed on the dates right before service.
It is HIGHLY recommended that they be served at room temperature for best presentation and taste.