Several years ago, on a trip to California wine country for my sister-in-law’s wedding, we were introduced to dates. Not that we don’t have access to dates in South Florida, we do, but they didn’t make a regular appearance in my grocery cart. I guess I just didn’t know what to do with them. After a week in Sonoma, enjoying them in hors d’ouevres, sandwich spreads, and as the backnote ingredient to several braised shank dishes, dates are a constant in my pantry and they’re a must for these Prosciutto and Date Palmiers.
One of the first things I made after coming back from our trip were these little cheese stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon. What’s not to love, right? Sweet, smoky, savory — it had it all. Except my daughter couldn’t get past the “look” of the dates. They just didn’t appeal to her.
I have to admit, even when I’d serve them as an hors d’oeuvre to friends or family for the first time, they would always hesitate first, and ask suspiciously, “What is it?” I would recite the ingredients and implore my guests to “just try them”. After a taste, they were quickly devoured.
I guess dates are like prunes – you know that it’s just a dried plum, that they are sweet and satisfying, but there’s just something about their look that you don’t quite trust. I get it.
Anyway – back to my daughter’s aversion. In an effort to win her over, I decided to transform the look of the dates into something she would readily accept. My strategy involved puff pastry and making a spreadable paste with the dates. You see where I’m going with this? I took a few more liberties, adding walnuts for crunch and substituting proscuitto for the bacon.
It worked! Not only did Emily inhale these without hesitation, when I brought them to my neighbor’s dinner party — even the normally gluten free crowd, wanted a taste. If you’re making them for a party, I’d suggest a double batch!
I think my next date adventure might be these 5-ingredient vegan gluten free cookies from the Minimalist Baker, as a healthy penance to this indulgence.
- 1 cup dried dates pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 sheet of puff pastry thawed
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 4-6 thin slices proscuitto
- 3/4 cup shredded manchego cheese
In a small food processor, add the dates. Add about half of the water and process dates until a paste forms. You will need to scrape down the sides and process several times. If it's too dry, or not coming together add more water and process until it has the spreading consistency of peanut butter. Set aside.
Flour your work surface and unfold the puff pastry on top of it. Sprinkle the pastry lightly with flour to avoid sticking. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a little less than a quarter inch thick, trying to maintain the rectangular shape.
Spread date paste evenly over the dough, leaving about one half inch of dough open for sealing dough after you roll it up.
Sprinkle dates evenly with the walnuts.
Arrange the proscuitto in a single layer over the walnuts.
Sprinkle the manchego in an even layer over the proscuitto.
Starting with the longer side of the dough, roll up into a pinwheel. Press slightly to seal the edge. Wrap in saran wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil. Set aside.
Using a very sharp knife, cut palmiers into 1/2"rounds and place them 1 inch apart on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly puffed and golden brown. Serve.
More Mouthwatering Hors D’oeuvres:
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