Stuffed dates are an easy but impressive hors d’oeuvre that transcend seasonality. Equally well-suited for an elegant winter dinner party or a backyard summer BBQ, these two-bite delicacies balance sweet, salty, and tangy flavors as well as chewy, creamy, and crunchy textures.
I decided to make two varieties of stuffed dates for a 4th of July get-together with our friends at their lake house. Half of the dates were stuffed with a goat cheese-neufchatel mixture and studded with whole toasted almonds:
…and the remaining dates were filled with a blue cheese-neufchatel blend and topped with toasted walnut pieces:
Both varieties of stuffed dates taste like sheer heaven. The mild neufchatel cream cheese helps to balance out the piquant flavors of the goat cheese and blue cheese, making the filling more pleasing to a range of palates. Lightly toasting the almonds and walnuts brings out their rich nuttiness, and the added crunch is a nice textural contrast to the soft dates and creamy cheese.
If you have yet to try Medjool dates, I urge you to seek them out at your grocery store. I buy them at Trader Joe’s, but they are also sold at Whole Foods and are becoming increasingly available at large chain grocery stores.
Goat Cheese and Almond Stuffed Dates & Walnut and Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates
- 14 large soft Medjool dates, sliced lengthwise halfway through & pitted
- 1 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
- 1 oz reduced fat blue cheese (such as Stella), at room temperature
- 2 oz neufchatel, (1/3-less-fat cream cheese), divided, at room temperature
- 14 whole almonds
- about 2 Tbsp walnut pieces
- Preheat toaster oven or conventional oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spread the almond and walnuts onto a small baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove nuts from baking sheet and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, stir together goat cheese and 1 oz neufchatel until well combined. Using a piping bag or a small spoon, stuff 7 pitted dates with goat cheese mixture.
- Gently press 2 almonds into each goat cheese-stuffed date.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the blue cheese and remaining 1 oz neufchatel until well combined. Using a piping bag or a small spoon, stuff the remaining 7 pitted dates with blue cheese mixture.
- Gently press a few walnut pieces into each blue cheese-stuffed date.
- If preparing stuffed dates a day in advance, refrigerate until a few hours prior to serving. Best when served at room temperature.
I leave you with a snapshot of how I spent the holiday!