This post is sponsored by Natural Delights.
Holiday appetizers can be tricky. When I start thinking about what I’ll serve at a party, or on a big holiday like Thanksgiving, I can rattle off the entrees and sides right away: the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and on and on. Every main dish is so much a part of my family that it’d be war if one of them didn’t show up on the table.
But thinking about the appetizers isn’t as straightforward. We don’t have the same commitment to our hors d’oeuvres. And in one way that’s nice, because it gives me freedom to try new recipes. But it also feels overwhelming to have so many potential options. I inevitably start hemming and hawing over questions like: How many should I serve? Sweet or savory? Hot or cold?
In the past, I might have gone nuts by making half a dozen apps. But a spread that big (and fussy) steals from the excitement of the main course—and that’s never a good thing. Lesson learned.
These days I know to serve fewer, more flavorful apps (usually a maximum of 3)—and to make them as easy as possible. Here’s my favorite appetizer for fall: Sweet and Savory Medjool Date, Bacon, and Brie Tarts! They’re mini fillo cups baked until flaky on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside—with brie cheese, bacon, blue cheese crumbles, sweet Natural Delights Medjool dates, and basil.
I used frozen mini fillo shells (find them in the freezer section of your grocery store), which made these a breeze (pan-frying the bacon was the most involved step!). I love the sweet-salty-savory play of flavors here, and the texture of the crispy fillo dough with creamy brie and chewy date. At 66 calories per tart, they’re the perfect little app!
Sweet and Savory Medjool Date, Bacon, and Brie Tarts
- 1 package frozen mini fillo shells 15 (I use Athens brand)
- 3 slices bacon
- 3 ounces brie cheese cut evenly into 15 small pieces
- 4 Natural Delights Medjool Dates pitted and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 ounce blue cheese crumbled (¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the mini fillo shells from the freezer and allow to thaw for 10 minutes before baking (but not longer than 10 minutes). Arrange them on a large, rimmed baking sheet in an even, single layer.
- In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Divide the brie, chopped dates, and blue cheese evenly among the 15 mini fillo shells. Crumble the bacon and divide among the shells. Bake the filled fillo shells until the brie is melted and the fillo pastry is crisp and flaky, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve immediately.