Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prunes Stuffed with Mascarpone and Wrapped in Bacon

We hosted a small Christmas party on Friday and decided to make it an ingredient-themed potluck.  We chose two special ingredients: cinnamon and bacon.  Guests could bring a dish using one or both of those ingredients and we ended up having a fairly wide range of foods--bacon macaroni and cheese, roasted brussels spouts with bacon, chocolate-bacon cupcakes, chana masala, and almond-milk rice pudding.  I desperately wanted to come up with an appetizer that combined cinnamon and bacon.  These prunes were the end result.  I was originally going to use dates, but the grocery store was complete out and I didn't feel like driving all over town just to pick up dates (ha!).  These little appetizers have a crispy, salty outside with a creamy, slightly sweet interior.

Total Time: about 30 min.
Makes 24 pieces

24 prunes, pitted
2 oz mascarpone cheese
12 slices bacon
ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the bacon in a single layers on a sheet pan, sprinkle some cinnamon over the top of each slice and bake until the slices begin to brown but are still flimsy.

While the bacon is cooking, transfer the mascarpone to a plastic storage bag and cut a 1/4-inch hole in one of the bottom corners. Pipe the cheese into the top of each prune (where the pits were removed).  Set stuffed prunes aside.

Lower the oven temperature to 325F.  Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer the slices to a paper towel-lined plate. Cut each bacon slice in half crosswise.  Wrap a half-slice of bacon around a stuffed prune, cinnamon-coated side touching the prune.  Place each wrapped prune, seam side down in the cups of a mini-muffin tin (or two regular muffin tins).  If necessary, secure the bacon wrapping by sliding a toothpick through bacon seam and through the prune.  Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the bacon gets nice and crispy.  Transfer each prune to another paper towel-lined plate to remove some of the excess bacon drippings, then serve.

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