Track 1- Know This by Nick Hill
Track 2- Happy Hour by Fauna Flora
Makes 24 stuffed dates (easily doubled)
I made only a few changes to the original recipe – upped the amount of orange zest and changed the herb to ground thyme (vs dried – I didn’t want the mouthfeel of little thyme twigs in the goat cheese).
For the Candied Pecans
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon cayenne (to taste)
- ¼ cup light agave
- 1 cup pecan halves
- Few pinches sea salt
For the Dates
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 tablespoon orange or tangerine zest
- ½ cup soft goat cheese (such as Montrachet), set in a bowl at room temperature to soften a bit
- 24 Medjool dates, pitted by making a slit down the center and removing the pit, keeping the date as intact as possible
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and set aside.
3. Combine spices in a small bowl and stir to mix.
4. If the agave seems thick, heat it up a little before mixing in the other ingredients. Otherwise you can skip the rest of step #4. Pour agave into small metal bowl or pie pan. Set bowl or pan over saucepan with small amount of boiling water for about a minute. This will make the agave easier to work with. Remove bowl or pan from heat.
5. Add pecans to agave and toss to coat.
6. Add spices to pecans and toss to coat.
7. Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
8. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes, checking and stirring (agave should be bubbling) once or twice with a wooden spoon. Pecans should be fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn the pecans.
9. Remove pan from oven. As they cool, sprinkle pecans with a pinch of sea salt. Slowly begin separate the pecans from the parchment. If the pecans seem sticky, let them cool a little longer. When finished they should have a hard shell and a nice crunch.
10. Mix thyme and orange zest into softened goat cheese, stirring to combine evenly.
11. Using a sharp knife, make a slit in the top of each date and carefully remove the pit. Stuff dates with about 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese, give or take some to fill the date.
12. Top each stuffed date with a candied pecan.
NOTE: Candied pecans can be made ahead 1-2 days. You’ll have extras which may be saved in an air-tight container for a couple weeks. But they won’t last that long, trust me.
The goat cheese mixture can be made up to 1 day ahead. Bring it back to room temperature and mix again before stuffing the dates.
The stuffed dates can be assembled a couple hours before serving. They taste fine the next day too, just don't look quite as pretty.