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Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

Dates are one of my favorites, especially when they’re extra fresh and soft. The maroonish ovals are one of those prime examples of nature’s candies, with an extra sweet, almost molassesy richness to them. Stuff them with a little mascarpone, and the fiber-filled fruit becomes even more decadent. The toasted pecans in this recipe add in a flavorful crunch, pairing perfectly with the creamy, lemony filling. Another great party hors d’oeuvre, packing in a lot of taste in just one portable bite.

Lemon-Pecan-Mascarpone Stuffed Dates

-25 dates (about 1 lb.)
-3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
-Zest of one lemon (plus more for garnish, if desired)
-2 tsp. lemon juice
-2 tsp. honey
-25 pecans (about 1/2 cup)

Make a lengthwise split in each date and remove pits.

Over medium-high heat, toast pecans in a skillet until browned. Remove from heat. Cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together mascarpone, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey, until throughly combined.

Place one toasted pecan at the bottom of each open date. Add 1-2 tsp. of mascarpone mixture on top. Garnish with extra zest, if desired.