Devils on Horseback (Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese)
Devils on Horseback are traditional British hot appetizers featuring bacon wrapped dates (or prunes) usually stuffed with cheese or nuts. They are extremely easy to make, only require 3 ingredients, are perfect for parties, and are a traditional component to a British Christmas feast. Best of all, you can even assemble them in advance and bake them right before guests arrive!
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 13-by-9-inch (or slightly larger) baking pan with foil (for easy cleanup) and place a small rack into the pan.
Slice the bacon crosswise into thirds (about 10 slices) or into halves (about 15 slices). Cutting into thirds will generally be large enough to wrap around each date, but if they are especially large dates (or you just want extra bacon per piece) use more bacon and cut in half.
Using a paring knife, cut open the dates along one side and remove the pits. Fill each date with about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese, close it back up, and then wrap with a piece of bacon, using a toothpick to skewer and secure the bacon around the date.
Arrange the bacon wrapped dates on top of the rack within the baking pan. This will allow the bacon drippings to settle beneath, and allow the bacon to crisp up without being too greasy.
Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before serving.
The number of slices of bacon you'll need will really depend on the number of dates. Depending on their size, 1 pound of medjool dates can range in number (I've had anywhere from 30 to 33 in the past). However many dates you have, divide that number by 3 if using bacon sliced into thirds (just enough bacon), or divide by 2 if using bacon sliced into halves (a little extra bacon).
Make ahead: Assemble Devils on Horseback up to 12 hours in advance, wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook. You may need to cook them for a few extra minutes if baking from a cold state. You may also fully cook them about an hour in advance and then reheat them in the same pan right before guests arrive. They will be just as crispy and gooey as when they first emerge from the oven.
Replace the dates with pitted prunes.
Fill the dates with a different type of cheese, such as ricotta, blue cheese (Stilton), or Manchego