Before getting to the dates, let me set the stage a bit. I recently threw myself a birthday party to celebrate my 31st. The theme of the night was a wine and cheese tasting and each of my guests brought a pairing of each. As the host, I prepared a few additional items to give my guests a bit of variety and reprieve from all the cheese.
I served celery and carrot stick palate cleansers. These are a cinch to make and offer a refreshing break between cheeses.
There were a zillion different types of crackers and crostini of course. And warm, fresh baked cinnamon walnut bread that went perfectly with a soft cranberry cheddar cheese I picked up.
I also served citrus fruits and grapes which are all wonderful compliments to cheese, but I really wanted to serve something that my guests would remember, something more than your average party finger food.
I opted for blue cheese stuffed dates.
They were actually really easy to make and were a smash hit. The salty, sharp flavor of the cheese pairs wonderfully with the sweet, almost sugary flavor, of the date. The softness of the cheese contrasts well with the firm, almost crunchy date. These dates are so decadent, they’d be perfect even for dessert.
All you need to create this dish is a good blue cheese (as pungent or mild as you like), some candied pecans (optional), and a few dozen plump dates.
To stuff the dates, start by pitting each one. Slice your knife across the top and pinch the ends to pop out the seed. Using your fingers, stuff an over-sized crumble of blue cheese into the date and top with a few of the chopped candied pecans. It takes a bit of prep time, but is really easy to do and doesn’t require much clean up. Serve the dates with the remaining cheese and sprinkle in any left over candied pecans over top.
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