Time for something sweet…with just a hint of savory. Still on my holiday theme of versatile recipes to fill whichever role you need. Dessert? A side dish for a brunch? A party canapé? These brie-stuffed date bites with maple can show up to any of those occasions and shine. And frankly, they are relatively healthy alternatives to much of what we run into this time of year.
So, dates in the colonial apple cake and now in a canapé (or a dessert, or a sweet-savory brunch side, yada yada). I think I must be regressing to my childhood. You see, dried fruit is huge in Brazil during the Christmas season. It is difficult to go visit someone’s home this time of year and not be offered dried fruits and nuts. And dates are right at the top of the list of dried fruits. Therefore, when I think of Christmas goodies, I often think of dates.
I must admit to not serving dates as often as I would have liked since I left Brazil. First because we got married young with very few resources, and dates (although not “break the bank” items) aren’t exactly cheap. When we were no longer mostly broke, I started avoiding sweet things, for the most part, so I shied away from them still. But this little recipe marries the sweet with just the right touch of savory. And the drizzle? I think it takes it over the top (no pun intended).
Let’s see what we need to make brie-stuffed dates with Maple
Obviously, we don’t need much.
This is an “assembly” recipe, not a “cooking” recipe. And that’s what we need this time of year, right? What’s better than being able to quickly and easily produce something with huge, rich flavor in just a matter of minutes? So, there you go!
I use Medjool dates for this because they are larger, softer, moister, and very easily found in the grocery store. My understanding is that the other varieties are smaller, less tender and drier.
Another key to this is the drizzle of maple syrup. I really don’t recommend your average pancake syrup. They tend to be much too sugary and the maple flavor tastes more bitter to me. I found this very nice organic, pure maple syrup that made an amazing drizzle. Yes, it is sweet. But in a discreet and lovely way. Most of all, the maple flavor is so fresh and clean. It is a key complement to the dates and brie.
Finally, I like to crumble some fruit and nut clusters over the top for a hint of cinnamon and crunchy oat. It not only adds to the flavor, but makes a great textural contrast. You can use any crumbly granola. I usually have these Simple Bites around the house for a healthy and tasty snack item, so that’s what I used.
Let’s look at the steps for assembling the Brie-stuffed dates with Maple
First, I pit the dates.
Sure, you can buy these guys pitted, but if there is a price difference, don’t bother. Pitting Medjool dates is ridiculously easy. I mean, you need to cut them in half anyway. So, while you’re there, just take out the pit, which sits in a great big pocket and is easy to remove.
Then cut the date into two equally-sized halves.
Then slice your brie.
I like to use a little brie log like this one because you can slice it more easily into equal slices, then just fold each slice in half and put the rind-side into the center of a date half.
I know, I know. There are some rind haters out there. I’m not judging, just acknowledging that y’all exist (there’s those almost 15 years in Texas coming out). That’s another reason I like this brie log. If you note, the rind is very, very thin. However, if you can’t hang with even that little bit, you may prefer to work with a brie wedge and scoop out the creamy center with a spoon instead.
Stuff all your date halves and then…
Place them on a serving dish, drizzle with the maple syrup (being sure to get a bit of the syrup over each), the sprinkle some crumbled granola or oat crisps over the top to garnish.
I used a marble cheese board today, but you can use whatever you think will best present your little morsels of deliciousness. Don’t they look luscious? Yum!
Creamy, chewy, sweet, savory, with that clean and crisp maple goodness, and just a hint of crunch. All in 10 to 15 minutes! Yeah, this is a keeper!
- 8-ounce package of Medjool dates
- 6-ounce log of brie
- Pure maple syrup
- Granola crumbles
- Slice all the dates exactly in half, removing and discarding the pits.
- Slice the brie log into ⅛ inch slices (thicker if the dates are somewhat large).
- Fold each slice in half and tuck the rind side down into the center of a date. The brie should fully fill the opening in the center of the date.
- Arrange the stuffed dates on a serving platter or cheese board.
- Chill until just before serving. Then allow to sit outside the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Drizzle with the pure maple syrup.
- Top the dates with a sprinkle of crumbled granola.