Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mascarpone Stuffed Medjool Dates

The holidays are almost upon us, so for the next month I will try to post a few recipes which fall under the party-food category. Mascarpone stuffed dates are really delicious and have proven to be quite a favorite at holiday parties. I found these dates at a local market, the owner taught me about all the different varieties of dates, which was very enlightening. The ones I used here are sun ripened type which is why they have a smoother appearance and aren't as wrinkly (is that even a word?). I could not detect much of a difference in the taste, so if sun ripened dates are not available dried dates will work well.

Whenever I am catering a party I always try to have a balanced menu, and while a variety of foods is very important, I also balance the menu out by the stages in which food needs to be prepared. This is most important to me when I am having a party of my own and don't have a big kitchen staff to do most of the work. All it takes is a little strategic planning-dishes I can prepare ahead, some things which are quick to make and then some very special dishes which may require a little more time. Planning my menus in this manner keeps me from being frazzled the day of the party.

The dates fall into the very easy, very tasty and best of all- make-ahead category! They are great on their own, or as part of a cheese tray. I will hopefully get a chance between now and Christmas to write a post about cheese pairings and how to put together a great cheese tray- one that will definitely not involve cubed cheese!

Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

1 8oz container Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 lb. Medjool Dates
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 lb. toasted pecan halves ( 350F on a cookie sheet- watch carefully, about 15 min.- this would not be the time to multi-task...they burn quickly!)

1. Make a cut the length of the date and remove pit. Place pitted dates on a plate and set aside.

2. In a small bowl combine cheese, honey and lemon zest with a spatula until mixed well.

3. Fit a small pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip, fluted or plain. Place cheese filling in the bag. Carefully fill each date with about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture for large dates and 1 teaspoon for smaller dates. Place a pecan on top of each filled date. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

6 comments:

  1. These sound amazing. I cant wait to try them for the holidays!

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  2. This looks AWESOME! To eat and to look at!

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  3. I served these at a small gathering last weekend. They were beautiful on a plate decorated with some leaves and edible flowers. I didn't have a lemon so I used an orange instead. I added a pinch of cardamom to the cheese and they were delicious! I will definitely be making these again. Thanks so much!

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  4. DELICIOUS!!! I absolutely loved this recipe!!!

    If anyone would like to try fresh, home grown medjool date for this recipe, please feel free to log on to my website at www.sanmarcosdatefarm.com

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  5. I served these as an app at a party, they were a crowd pleaser, even the kids loved them. The leftover marscapone mixture will be great in french toast or on scones. I left out the nuts and topped with a little olive oil and course salt. Thank you for an easy, delicious recipe.

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  6. Made these for a small gathering and boy are they yummy! The only change I made was replacing the pecan with chopped pistachios and a sprinkle of the lemon zest on the plate. Easy to make and people think I spent way more time on these!

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