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Just because the festive season has come to a close, who is to say that we can't continue enjoy a couple of wintery canapés before dinner time? These delicious little parcels are rich in flavour and seemingly impressive despite being speedy and easy to prepare. They may be small but they leave a strong impression on the palette - and nobody needs more than one or two. All you need is a packet of prosciutto, a wedge of relatively hard gorgonzola (or other blue) and a packet of de-seeded dates. The brilliant thing about this one is that you can really go anywhere you want with the ingredient combinations - manchego marries well with honey roast ham and apple chutney, brie with streaky bacon, prunes and red onion marmalade... Whatever you fancy!
dried and pitted dates (Deglet Nour are particularly sweet and jammy)
about the same mass of hard gorgonzola (or goats, or stilton)
finely sliced prosciutto (about 1/2 a slice per date)
balsamic glaze and fresh rocket to garnish
1. Using your index fingers, pull open the dates along their pitting incisions
2. Stuff each date with a small block of gorgonzola (cuboidal in shape so as to fill as much of the fruit as possible) and try and close them back up like little jackets to avoid too much of a spill out
3. Tear each piece of parma ham in to two, and use to tightly wrap each date; it is important that you lay these out on your baking tray with the parma ham seam facing down so that the devils don't unravel (otherwise, pierce with a cocktail stick)
4. Place under the griddle at 180°C for about 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy
5. Wack your finished canapés straight onto a chopping board or serving platter and drizzle with sticky balsamic glaze before serving. Scatter with a small handful of torn basil leaves and finish off with a grind of fresh black pepper from a height
Serve warm, and just wait for the praise to come rolling in!
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