When I was still living in Charlottesville, I felt like an obsession had developed among my friends for bacon-wrapped dates. I blame it on a local tapas restaurant, MAS, and my friend Shannon, but they seemed to pop up at every gathering, dinner, and get-together over the course of the two years I lived there.
As I was planning the menu for my Pumploitation Celebration, I kept thinking about how I could incorporate bacon. I had seen pork and pumpkin together quite often, but we all know that bacon is really the best thing that comes from a pig. I must have overdosed on posts featuring date creations as well, because I could not get out of my mind that I needed to combine all three flavors into one delicious creation. So I came up with Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Ricotta & Pumpkin.Since “normal” bacon-wrapped dates are called Devil’s On Horseback (a fact I learned from Katie Lee nee Joel), I called mine HEADLESS HORSEMEN.
Get it? Like from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? He was on horseback? And he had a pumpkin? And my “Devils on Horseback” have pumpkin in them?
It’s fine. No one at the party really cared either. They did like them though. So now I shall show you how to make them.
First, make the filling. You’ll need ricotta (I used part skim) and pumpkin puree.
I also added some balsamic vinegar, as I have this obsession with the pumpkin-ricotta-balsamic combination since the time I went to NYC and had an amuse buche at The Stanton Social featuring ricotta and pumpkin on toast with a balsamic reduction.
I put 1/4 cup of pumpkin and 3/4 cup ricotta into my measuring cup. (You can use a bowl. This was the first thing I grabbed.)
Stirred it up and added the vinegar. Stirred some more.
I will say I ended up with WAAAAAY too much, so I probably should have just done 2 Tbsp. pumpkin to 6 Tbsp. ricotta, but you can play with it. I’m sure I’ll figure out what to do with what Patrick has since referred to as “pumpkin cheese.”
Now that the filling is prepped, get your dates.*
*No, don’t worry sorority girls (like me!)…not a date dash. You don’t need to go scrounge up a cute boy at a moment’s notice. Just go to a bulk bin near you! [If only it had been that easy in college. Or ever.]
Try to get pitted ones for ease of preparation, but, if you accidentally get ones with pits in them (who would do that?), no worries.
Just pit and slice lengthwise down one side.
Then use a small spoon (I used a 1/2 teaspoon) to put in some filling and close up the date, like a cheesesteak.
Keep going until you have a whole plateful!
They actually taste great just like this…but as we all know:
Take your bacon, and slice off the extra fatty side, then cut the other part in half. (You will have a total of three strips, but discard the extra fat…or cook with it if you are so inclined.)
You’ll then cut your strips in half or thirds, horizontally (or in the opposite way as before), so that you have small pieces to wrap around the dates. Squeeze it so it sticks together.
Pop them on a baking sheet, seam side down.
Broil for 5 minutes, turn, and broil 3-5 more minutes. THEY WILL BE VERY HOT!!!!
Once they cool off a bit, though. Prepare to swoon from the bacon bash happening in your mouth.
(Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Pumpkin & Ricotta)
40-48 pitted Deglet dates
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup low-fat or part-skim ricotta
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
8-10 slices bacon
1. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, ricotta, and balsamic vinegar.
2.Slice dates down the middle, lengthwise, cutting through just one layer. (So that they open like hot-dog buns).
3. Using a small spoon (or 1/2 tsp measuring spoon), scoop pumpkin mixture into dates, and “close them up.”
4. Cut bacon into thirds, with one third being the excess fatty edge. Discard fatty edge and cut remaining bacon strips into thirds, crosswise. [You should be left with 5-6 strips of bacon.]
5. Wrap each date in bacon and set onto a sprayed baking sheet.
6. Broil for 5 minutes, turn dates, and broil 3-5 minutes more.