We recently figured out that I’m lactose intolerant, which was a pretty big blow. I know that sounds dramatic, but I really love cheese and I had been eating a lot of dairy, so the dietary change required was HUGE.
You’re probably wondering what my inability to eat cheese has to do with dates. Well, most bacon or pancetta wrapped date recipes call for stuffing with goat cheese. I can attest that goat cheese stuffed dates are AMAZING, but I just wasn’t willing to get sick for them. Jeff suggested stuffing the dates with almonds, so I did some google searching and found two blog posts to base the dates on: Bacon (or Pancetta) Wrapped Dates from Confections of a Foodie Bride and Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates from Iowa Girl Eats. I ended up sort of splitting the difference between the two, and the result was fabulous. No, I don’t have photos, because we kind of ate them immediately, but if you follow me on twitter you saw them in the background of one of my new years photos.
Pancetta Wrapped Dates (this isn’t really a recipe)
If you’re like us, and your dates aren’t already pitted – pit them! (It’s not hard, just cut a slit and pop the pit out.) Put a raw almond where the pit used to be, and then wrap it up with about half a slice pancetta. (Try to get the sizes to roughly match – for me that meant cutting the piece of pancetta in half.) Stick them on a lined baking sheet (I used my silpat) and bake for 10-15 minutes at 375. (I used 375 because I had just finished baking a rhubarb crumble and that was the oven’s temperature.) I think we were somewhere around 12, but check earlier because your oven may run hotter. Then let them cool a couple minutes, because you WILL burn your fingers if you eat them immediately.