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Wednesday, 23 May 2007

No, they aren’t scarabs! (WTSIM… #5) – they’re stuffed dates!!

go directly to the recipe

recipe: stuffed dates (dates stuffed with pecans and wrapped in bacon then grilled)

Waiter, there’s something in my… dates!

Jeanne (Cook Sister!) only just recently announced this month’s WTSIM theme. I considered punishing her tardiness by submitting stuffed banana muffins. But the WTSIM rulers are quite rigid and I’m pretty sure that instead of adding my renegade post to the roundup, they’d tell me to, well… not to put too fine a point on it… get stuffed.

(click on image for larger view and more photos)
stuffed dates Besides, just the other day, at one of the first garden parties of the season, this month’s WTSIM… post subject fell right into my hands! And most delicious it was too. Unless you’d tasted them, you can’t imagine how fabulous they were. And they have the added advantage of being dead easy to make.

I admit it (so did the hostess); they look like scarabs. Don’t be put off by the looks. Grab a toothpick and taste one. Or two. Or three. Go on… I know you want to: horde them all to yourself.

Here’s what I did to reproduce these wonderful hors d’oeuvres:

stuffed dates wrapped in bacon

  • pitted dates
  • whole pecans
  • bacon slices, cut in half

preparation

  1. Push pecans into the holes where the pits were in the dates. (I used cooking dates.)
  2. Wrap each stuffed date in half a slice of bacon.
  3. Fry til golden and crispy, turning as needed to ensure that they are golden all over.

Serve either hot or at room temperature.

Did I say that bacon-wrapped stuffed dates were dead easy to make? I’m afraid I lied. Turning them in the frying pan was a bit tricky. Next time, I plan to broil the wrapped stuffed dates.

Even so, they were definitely worth the effort. Hmmm, I wonder if we have any bacon left….

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with myself that not only have I managed to post on time, but I am early(!!) for this month’s

WTSIM …

In the May WTSIM… guidelines, Jeanne wrote:

[Y]our theme is stuffed fruit or vegetables. Want to scoop the insides out of a cherry tomato and fill it with pate? Have you always had a yen to make baked apples stuffed with dried fruit? Maybe an aubergine with its flesh scooped out and mixed with couscous takes your fancy? You’ve come to the right place! Sweet or savoury, the choice is once again yours – but the fruit or vegetable must be stuffed, not merely coated with a topping or sauce.

The deadline for WTSIM… stuffed fruit/vegetables! is Tuesday 29 May, 2007. If you would like to participate, please read the following for more information:

Edit 1 June 2007: Jeanne is unprecedentedly early (it must be a disease!) and has already posted the roundup! Read about the delicious stuffings others made:

9 Comments for No, they aren’t scarabs! (WTSIM… #5) – they’re stuffed dates!!” »

  1. Comment by Kate — 23 May 2007 @ 12:08 EDT

    Those look like June Bugs….do you get those in Canada? Giant clumsy sticky legged bugs….ewwww

    My cats eat ‘em like candy…ewww again!

  2. Comment by ejm — 23 May 2007 @ 12:58 EDT

    Yes, we have June bugs here too, Kate. Luckily, it’s still May, so there’s no possibility that a June bug might be posing as a stuffed date. ;) (Still, thanks for the warning. I’ll be sure to look for wiggling legs before popping one in my mouth.)

  3. Comment by MrsBrown — 23 May 2007 @ 20:57 EDT

    I adore stuffed dates. I’ve never made savoury stuffed dates though. Last year, I needed something for a Book Club meeting–we try to make food from the country in the setting of the book. I believe the book was set in Turkey but I can’t remember. On the advice of one of my sisters, I made cream cheese stuffed dates. I mixed the cream cheese with liqueur–Grand Marnier (I think)–and stuffed the large pitted dates (pitting was very simple–a slice and a pry) with the mixture. They needed to be refrigerated for 3 or 4 hours to let the flavours meld. My Book Club members were very happy with the results but found the large dates to be too rich. I tried it again with smaller dates which were more difficult to fill but the results were as delicious.

    Now, what to do, what to do? Should I make pecan/bacon stuffed dates? or cream cheese liqueur stuffed dates?

  4. Comment by ejm — 24 May 2007 @ 08:26 EDT

    Wow, those dates stuffed with liqueured cream cheese must be incredibly rich and sweet! I do like the sound of them though. I wonder if they would work wrapped in thin pastry and baked like sausage rolls.

    Now I too have your dilemma, MrsBrown. Should I make pecan/bacon stuffed dates? or cream cheese liqueur stuffed dates?

    Ooooh!! Or how about goats cheese stuffed dates? Or cream cheese liqueur stuffed dates wrapped in bacon?

    Although… I must say that even though I haven’t tried the creamy stuffing, I suspect that it is MUCH easier and far less messy to stuff the dates with pecans.

  5. Comment by Sarah — 24 May 2007 @ 14:43 EDT

    O god, I love dates. My grandfather used to give them to me in the car when I was little (so I would be quiet for five minutes).

    and yes! I do mash potatoes with my hands– every woman in my family has done it that way– season while hot, pop in the fridge, and then have at it! (it’s so much fun)

  6. Comment by Alanna — 26 May 2007 @ 08:39 EDT

    Very nice!! A friend served these at our bookclub a couple of months ago and we definitely scarfed them up!

  7. Comment by ejm — 27 May 2007 @ 08:27 EDT

    I’m not surprised that your bookclub scarfed all the stuffed dates, Alanna. I’m afraid I really embarrassed myself with the number of dates I ate at the garden party….

    Dates are the best, aren’t they, Sarah? I’m always reminded of Piet Hein’s wonderful poem “Dates” in one of the Grook books. The one that begins:

    A box of dates
    embodies a
    malicious sense of fun.

  8. Comment by Jeanne — 29 May 2007 @ 10:12 EDT

    Stuffed scarabs… June bugs… You’re scaring the audience here ;-) Not to mention that your house will soon be picketed by the insect right activists :o)

    Seriously, these look faaaaab. My dad always loved dates, but he liked the chopped ones that you could buy in a block for cooking. Mixed with chopped apples and a mayo dressing, they were his favourite salad. But I never liked those brown, fiborous blocks. It was only when I got older and discovered what dates look and taste like before being block-ified that I learned to like them. I had the most glorious almond-stuffed, choc-dipped dates in Dubai a whiel back, and I have alays adored dates wrapped in bacon – yours just add an extra textural dimension with the nut. Yum!

    And btw, I would sadly not have accepted stuffed banana muffins, unless you could show me the muffin tree from whence the muffins came!!

  9. Comment by ejm — 29 May 2007 @ 13:14 EDT

    The dates my mom used for making date bread when I was a kid came in blocks like that, Jeanne. And my dad would break pieces off to eat as snacks. Like you, I couldn’t really understand it. Maybe it’s an adult thing… I think that even if we were buying our dates in blocks rather than loose, I would be inclined to snack on them now too.

    I somehow knew you’d be old-fashioned about the stuffed banana muffins. (And of course, I wouldn’t have tried to show you just any old muffin tree. That’s silly. It would have been a picture of a banana muffin tree. They grow not all that far south of the spaghetti trees in Italy.)

    Almond stuffed, chocolate dipped dates sound wonderful! Hmmm, perfect for a date-themed dinner….

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