One of the little traditions in our house are stuffed dates at Christmas time – apparently they are not allowed any other time of the year except those few days over Christmas, which is a shame really as they are just delicious. I can remember my grandmother making these and being most put out when I suggested I would like some for my birthday in September. “Oh no dear, only at Christmas.” Maybe dates were an expensive luxury back in the day and not easily available all year round?
Stuffed dates also make an excellent little hostess gift or small present to have tucked away in case a visitor drops a present in and you have nothing to give in return. This seems to have been a constant worry for my mother as I can remember her always having some signed cards in blank envelopes – for the cards she received but hadn’t sent to or little presents on the hall table, so it looked as though she had been planning to pop out and distribute at any moment!
Anyway back to the dates. There are a variety of things you can use to stuff the dates and I love all the different options. One of my favourites is to slit the date, remove the stone and then fill the gap with Boursin cheese. I particularly like the black pepper Boursin variety.
Other options are marzipan and as pictured, blanched almonds. You could use cashews or any other nut you fancied as well.
Dates often come in a little box so it’s easy to remove them, stuff and then return them to the box. You can then decorate the box with a sprig of holly or a tinsel bow or whatever you fancy – a quick and easy solution to a tiny present… or frankly, just a nice treat to make for yourself!