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Fancy shmancy, but very easy to make. Very MiddleEastern/Mediterranean! You can serve it as a fruity appetizer or as a dessert.
- 1 bottle light-bodied red wine, like beaujolais
- 8 medjool dates
- 16 whole almonds, skin on,lightly toasted
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon clove
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, dry or fresh
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 2 two inch cinnamon sticks
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1⁄4 lb mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- sea salt, for serving
- In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer.
- Add the dates and poach until the skins blister.
- With a slotted spoon, lift out the dates and, while warm, remove and discard the skins.
- Cut open the dates on one long side, remove the pits and place two almonds in the center of each date.
- Fold closed.
- To the wine, add the honey, peppercorns, cloves, orange zest, allspice, cinnamon sticks and bay leaf.
- Continue simmering until the wine is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
- Strain wine into a clean saucepan.
- Add the dates to the wine and heat gently, over a medium low heat, until warmed through, but not hot, then remove from heat.
- To serve, place a dollop of mascarpone in the center of each of four plates.
- Spoon two dates and a little wine sauce on each plate, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and serve.