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I watch Ted make these on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy tonight. Sweetpea has a similar recipes posted but they aren't stuffed. A nice balance of sweet and salt.
- Move oven rack to upper third of oven and preheat to 500°F.
- Stuff each date with an almond, then fill the remaining space with softened goat cheese using a pastry bag.
- Wrap a piece of bacon around each date and secure with a pick.
- Place dates on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until bacon is golden and crispy, 6-8 minutes.
- Set aside to cool briefly before serving.
- For presentation, insert picks into half a pineapple sliced lengthwise.
These are divine. I also saw these on Queer Eye and was glad to find the recipe. I made these for a Christmas Eve party and won a "Most Martha Stewart-ish" award. The combination of ingredients at first seems strange, but together they form complex taste layers that are delicious. The salty bacon is countered by the sweetness of the dates and the creaminess of the goat cheese. The almond adds a nice crunch to an other wise "soft" mouthful. I did not present this on the pineapple, but they were delicious anyway. For novice chefs or people with a brain phase at the time of baking; make sure to bake these on a pan with SIDES. Otherwise you will have an oven fire from the bacon grease. Also, if you don't have a pastry bag, just slice the dates lengthwise to stuff with a spoon. The bacon hides the slice. These are easy to make and wonderful to eat. ENJOY!!
Worried about the bacon (some reviews said it was hard to get it to be fully cooked) I used pancetta instead. Wow! I stuffed them a day ahead, using a cranberry goat cheese and smoked almonds, wrapping the thin pancetta and securing each with a toothpick. They came out of the oven just perfect! I then drizzled a bit of chocolate balsamic over the tops. These are great to eat while warm, but they sit well too and are just as delicious!
Really delicious and so fast/easy to prepare and can be done in advance. One tip: to prepare for serving, don't do what I did and look at just the cooking time to gauge when they will be ready - heating an oven to 500 can take a LONG time, so remember to factor that in! Another thing, I used fairly large dates and ended up adding more goat cheese than necessary, so next time I'll use smaller dates for more balance of the flavors. Still tasty, though. The only downside: not the most attractive appetizer, so a little bit of a 'hard sell' visually until people taste them and word spreads - then they disappear!