Did you know dates are a fresh fruit? I love dates! But I never knew they were fresh fruit: they are naturally low in moisture, less than 30%. Think about their growing habits – palms, desserts – where a typical fresh fruit, which has 75 – 95% moisture, would just shrivel up and die. Deglet Noor and Medjool are two commonly seen varieties. The California date growers presented useful information to us at a workshop a while back & gave us some dates fresh-picked within the past 48 hour. Mmmm.
The date’s “caramel-like savory taste… invites the most tantalizing culinary creativity”, a quote from http://www.datesaregreat.com , that says it better than I can.
This recipe is a variation taken from the webiste (oh, look: there is cheese involved – imagine that!):
- 12 large California dates, pitted
- 2 3oz packages cave-aged Blue Cheese, Maytag brand OR goat cheese
- 2 Tbsp Almonds, sliced & toasted
- 2 Tbsp Chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a pan with parchment paper.
Slice dates lengthwise, on one side only; but do not cut all the way through. Fill the date cavity with about 1/2 teaspoon cheese. Finely chop chives and sprinkle over cheese & dates. Add a sliced almond piece on top of the cheese on each date. Arrange dates in the baking pan.
Bake dates until warm and cheese is slightly melted, about 8 minutes. Serve warm.