Italian stuffed DATES appetizer

Medjool DATES get stuffed with decadent ITALIAN delicacies.

Prosciutto di Parma...Torta Mascarpone...PECANS...
are indulgent treats which will undoubtedly...
open appetites during the upcoming holidays.

Last week on a lovely sunshiny day...
Mom and I decided to get together.

We figured that days like these would
soon become few and far between. 

Therefore, it was wise to take advantage and
forgo some of our responsibilities for that day. 

We naturally started with our outing by the waterfront.  Our catching up with each other was going fine up until we took a pause and gazed silently at the bright blue, cloudless sky.
Then, out of this blue silence came the following words from Mom, "What a change it is to feel great in November for once".   At first, I was innocently perplexed with that statement. I then turned to look at her strangely and asked what she could possibly mean by it?   She continued with the following sad reminder of how the month of November symbolizes the end of something and of the dead! Well, alright the trees may have appeared dead but they really weren't...so where was she going with this line of thought?  I've got to admit that this statement coming from her took me quite by surprise. She's one of the most upbeat characters I have the pleasure to know and have as a Mom...and yet, her morose statement remained with me.

Actually, in retrospect, she was, in her defence, quite factual...
especially with our Veterans (Remembrance) day that had just passed.

photo credit: flowerhop.com
{the stunning red POPPY...a symbol of eternity in the hearts of our heroes}

This may be a good time to take another moment to pause...
in gratitude towards all veterans who courageously fought for...
our freedom during the first and second world wars.
They certainly are our lifetime heroes.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Unfortunately, in the last few years we've also been paying these same
respects to our soldiers who were lost in combat in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Here's to praying that this madness ends as soon as possible.

Alright, now...
all these sacrifices for our benefit
has to be put to good use...
therefore, I refuse to set myself...
up for depressive thoughts.

I personally don't mind November...
it's kind of an expanded timeframe that gets...
me ready to enter another phase of thoughts.
My lengthy to-do list from the last...

few months might just get a...
chance to shake and get done.

Since harvesting season for the lush Medjool dates are from mid-August to mid November...
I thought it best to take advantage and purchase one of my favourite dried fruits.

The next weeks will be prime-time to stock up on these fabulously sweet, rich tasting dates.
Waiting too long may end up leaving you with less full-bodied quality to choose from.

The Medjool
is often referred to as the
'King of Dates'

     The Medjools were once reserved only for Moroccan royalty and their guests. They were, and still are, considered a precious confection and are typically the most expensive of the date varieties because their cultivation is more labour intensive.

Origins: In the 1920’s date palms in Morocco were threatened with extinction by a disease. To save their dates...Morocco sent eleven date palms to the USA. Nine of the eleven palms survived and are responsible for the millions of Medjool Dates that can be found throughout California and in parts of Arizona.

Characteristics: The date has a soft wrinkled flesh that gives way to a firm meaty center. When ripe, the date turns a dark brown color and with hints of wild honey, caramel, and cinnamon.  As the date fruit dries, the sugars will concentrate in the dense, moist flesh, ultimately forming sugar crystals on the outside of the date. If a date has formed sugar crystals, it is usually less than ideal to eat, as the flesh will be dry and leathery.

Storing: Medjool dates in your cooler, away from all moisture. Keeping your dates cool, yet dry is the best way to insure enhanced shelf life.
Reference info: travel-to-morocco

 The plump and slightly wrinkled outer skins of the Medjool dates adds to their visual interest as they contrast against the smoothness of the TORTA MASCARPONE and PROSCIUTTO crudo.

Prosciutto di Parma: is an Italian dry-cured ham which produces a thin slice of heaven. Its smooth velvety tasting texture is a pure gourmet indulgence.  If you wish to learn more about this delicacy...here is where it has been appreciated greatly.

Torta Mascarpone (DolceLatte): A fabulous melt-in-your-mouth cheese torte which has a mildly salty sweet flavour. The layers of mascarpone and gorgonzola cheeses produce a lusciously velvety texture. These two cheeses fuse perfectly to offer an unforgettable creamy delight.

The subtly creamy, honey-like flavour of...
the MEDJOOL dates had inspired me to have them...
suited up for this festive hors d'oeuvre platter.

Italian stuffed DATES
appetizer platter
serves 2 persons

...for Printer Friendly Version...click here.


. 6 dried Medjool dates*
. 8 slices of Prosciutto crudo di Parma (sliced paper thin)
. 75 grams (3 ounces) Torta Mascarpone cheese**
[the 'Galbani' DolceLatte (Torta) preferred]

. 8 whole Pecans (very slightly roasted)
. Ajvar mild*** (optional garnish)

* Harvesting season for the lush Medjool dates are from mid-August to mid November.  'Deglet Noor' dates can also be used.
** If absolutely necessary...the TORTA MASCARPONE (DolceLatte) can be substituted by:
a Gorgonzola Dolce...Dolceverde...or also a Torte Gaudenzio cheese.
*** Ajvar (mild)...It is simply a blend of finely pureed roasted peppers, eggplants, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic, a touch of sugar and a tinch of hot pepper...and the bonus...no additives or preservatives.


1. Easily remove pits from the dates in order to 'Butterfly' them. With a pairing knife, slice them by leaving each end slightly attached.
2. Spread the dates open and fill with a generous amount of Torta Mascarpone and/or Prosciutto as well as sparingly adding the toasted pecans.
3. Close the date very slightly in order to have its shape hold the filling properly.
4. Display on the platter and serve with a fabulous glass of dry white wine or a 'Merlot' red.

I really hope you have a chance...
to stuff dates in this very special way.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com


Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.