This recipe for Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese wrapped in Puff Pastry requires only 5 ingredients, but they’re fancy enough to impress even the poshest guests. Make this appetizer for your next cocktail party, break the Ramadan fast with them, or bake them for snacking on during family movie night. No matter the occasion, you’ll come back to this recipe time and again.
What are Dates?
Dates are the fruit of the date palm, which grows in clusters much as grapes do. Dates grow throughout the Middle East and in Northern Africa. This ancient food source has thin, papery skin, a chewy texture, and a very sweet taste. So sweet, in fact, that dates can be used as a sugar substitute when dehydrated and ground.
Are Dates like raisins?
Dates are not dried fruits, like raisins. Most people assume they are because of their shriveled skin. But, no, they’re not like raisins in that sense.
Dates are often served in sweet and savory dishes. They are the perfect snack in moderation. You can also serve dates stuffed with nuts or, as I’m doing here, with cheese. Because one Medjool date is 65 calories, you want to eat them in moderation if you’re watching your caloric intake.
What do I need to make Goat Cheese-Stuffed Dates in Puff Pastry?
To make dates stuffed with goat cheese, you need Medjool dates, puff pastry, goat cheese (or chèvre), a large egg, and some water. Add some honey to your grocery list if you want to sweeten things up.
You also need a rolling pin to roll out the puff pastry and a pastry wheel to cut it. You can use a pizza cutter if you don’t have a pastry wheel. A sheetpan for baking the date bites on is also needed.
Which Dates are best in this recipe?
Medjool dates are the sweetest and best dates to use when wrapping in puff pastry. I recommend them for this recipe because they provide sweetness on their own. A close second is a Deglet date, which is thinner and less sweet, with an almost toffee-like flavor. For people who need to watch their sugar intake, I recommend using Iranian Piarom dates, which have less fructose than the two previously mentioned varieties.
When shopping for dates, always buy them pitted. You don’t want to fuss with removing the pits. Another thing to look for is plump and fat fruits, not dried out and skinny. The darker the fruit, the sweeter the taste, so look for a deep brown or golden amber color. The sweeter the dates, the less savory your finished recipe will be.
What is Puff Pastry?
I have a whole post dedicated to puff pastry, but just in case you haven’t seen it: puff pastry is a French pastry made by enveloping butter in layers of dough. In French, this dough is called pâte feuilletée. Puff pastry is recognizable by its many layers of flaky dough after baking. Even before you bake it, you can see the layers of dough and butter. Well, that is, if it’s made correctly.
Roll out your sheet of puff pastry into a 13-inch square. I’ll admit, I never measure my dough, but you want to have 25 2 1/2 to 3-inch squares. I go up to 13-inches just to be on the safe side. Once your square is rolled out, use a pastry wheel to cut the dough into 25 squares.
Can I use store-bought Puff Pastry for this recipe?
You can always use pre-made, frozen puff pastry for this recipe if you don’t want to fuss with making your own dough. You need to thaw it in the fridge overnight. Allow it to warm up at room temperature (on the counter while still wrapped) for 15 minutes before rolling it, as well. I do encourage you to try this recipe with homemade puff pastry, though. It’s so much tastier than the store-bought stuff.
Work with one sheet at a time if you use the store-bought puff pastry. Keep the other piece of dough (the one you’re not working with) covered with a clean towel or wrapped in its wrapper. This keeps the dough from drying out. Once you’ve cut your first sheet, begin assembling the date bites. You’ll do the second sheet once this dough is used up.
What’s the easiest way to fill the Dates?
For me, the easiest way to fill dates is to use my fingers or an offset spatula and press the goat cheese into the pitted fruit. Pitted dates are easy to stuff because they have slits made where the seed was removed. Just use your fingers to open the fruit, then press a chunk of cheese inside the date’s cavity. Usually, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cheese is what it takes to fill a 2-inch long date. If you want to add more, go up to 2 teaspoons. Don’t go overboard. Remember, these still need to bake in the allocated bake time, or you risk burning the pastry dough.
Lay the dates on their respective square after you pump each one full of cheese. Continue filling in the remaining dates.
Can I use something else besides Goat Cheese?
You can fill your dates with anything you want, yes. Fill dates with feta cheese, blue cheese, or Boursin if you want to switch things up. You can add nuts to the cheese or use just nuts. My favorite nuts to stuff into dates are pecan halves, pistachios, or walnuts.
You can also make these with your favorite flavor of goat cheese. I love filling them with honey goat cheese. Lavender, spicy, or fig goat cheese are also good choices for this recipe. Likewise, any goat cheese with herby notes tastes amazing here.
How do I fold the Dates in the Puff Pastry?
Once your first 25 dates are filled and situated on their squares, brush the edges of the first row of puff pastry with the egg wash.
What does the egg wash do?
Egg wash is an egg and water mixture whisked together to act as a “glue” and used to seal doughs. Egg washes can also be used before baking to give breads and pastries a glossy exterior. Here, we’re sealing the pastry bundles, so they don’t split open in the oven.
Grab a square with the date positioned in the middle of it. You want to turn the square, so it looks like a diamond. Fold one of the side points towards the center, then fold the opposite point towards the first point and press them together over the date.
Next, repeat the folding and pressing with the top and bottom points as you did with the side points.
This is what your date bundle will look like. Minus the out focus-ness, of course. Sorry about that.
Can I roll the Dates in the Puff Pastry ahead of baking them?
You can roll the dates in the puff pastry and store them in the fridge overnight. Just make sure to separate them with parchment, so they don’t stick together. Put them in an airtight container and store them for 1-2 days.
You can also freeze the dates in puff pastry for up to two months. Again, separate layers of the bites with parchment and store them in a freeze-safe container.
How long do I bake the Dates?
Bake the bites in a 425°F (220°C) oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Check on the progress of the bites halfway through the bake time. It helps to rotate the pan 180°, so the bites bake evenly, but that’s not a must.
How do I serve these Dates in Puff Pastry?
You can serve these dates by themselves as an appetizer. I even serve them as a light lunch sometimes.
When I host my friends for Iftar, the evening meal when observant Muslims break their Ramadan fast, I usually have nuts, dried fruits, and tea to serve with them.
What are some holidays to serve this appetizer for?
Ramadan, the month-long Muslim holiday of prayer, fasting, and reflection, is the most popular holiday for me to serve these at. Another great holiday to serve these dates stuffed with goat cheese is Easter. I’m sure Jesus would’ve eaten something like this (minus the puff pastry, of course).
Really, any holiday is a great one to serve these bites at. Heck, you don’t even need a holiday to bake and enjoy them. “Just because” is a good enough reason.
Is this recipe halal?
Whether or not this particular recipe is halal is very important. If you plan to serve these to strict Muslims, it is very important to purchase and use goat cheese and puff pastry labeled “halal.” The reason why is that some goat cheese is made with animal rennet. Per Muslim dietary laws, the way the animal is killed determines if it is halal (lawful) or haram (forbidden). Check the ingredients label when shopping for your goat cheese. If it says microbial rennet, it’s probably halal. Shopping at a Middle Eastern store for halal products makes figuring these things out much easier.
You can use my puff pastry recipe for a halal option as it contains no alcohol like some others might. Again, check the ingredients label for halal puff pastry.
What other ways can I serve this appetizer?
I like adding honey to my dates bites. The honey adds another level of sweetness that I just love. Here are some of the kinds of honey that are my go-to’s:
You can leave these without any additional topping, as well.
How do I store leftover Puff Pastry bites?
Store leftover date puff pastry bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat them in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes or in an air fryer set at 350°F (180°C) for 3-4 minutes. I can’t eat them cold, so I always reheat them in the air fryer.
Can I freeze them?
You can freeze the dates in puff pastry after baking them, as well. Allow them to cool completely on the sheetpan. Once cool, freeze the pastries until solid (still on the sheetpan). Transfer the pastries to a freezer-safe storage bag once frozen. Freeze them for up to 6 months.
This method allows you to remove the pastries from the bag and bake them off in smaller portions. You have to bake all of them if you freeze them in one giant lump. With this method, you just pop them onto a sheetpan while frozen and reheat for 5-8 minutes in a 350°F (180°C) oven.
What other appetizers do you have?
To add more flavor to your next gathering, consider these appetizers:
For those who celebrate, Eid Mubarak. May you succeed in your fasting this year and every year. For those that don’t, happy celebrating whatever! I hope you enjoy this Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese in Puff Pastry recipe. Be sure to pin this to your appetizer board. Let me know what you think of them in the comments below, too!
Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese in Puff Pastryat Sense & Edibility
- rolling pin
- pastry wheel (or pizza cutter)
- sheet pan
- silicone baking mats
For the Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) cold water
For the Dates in Puff Pastry
- 1 1/2 pounds (1 17-ounce pack or 490 grams) puff pastry dough
- 50 Medjool dates pitted
- 8 ounces (226 grams) goat cheese
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).Line a sheetpan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, then set the pan aside.
Mix the Egg Wash
- In a small mixing bowl, use a whisk or a fork to combine the egg and cold water until it flows smoothly.Set the egg wash aside while you prepare the puff pastry.
Prepare the Puff Pastry
- Roll out the sheet of puff pastry into a 13-inch square. If you're using store-bought pastry, keep one sheet covered while you work with this first one. Once your square is rolled out, use a pastry wheel (or a pizza cutter) to cut the dough into 25 2 1/2 to 3-inch squares.
Stuff then wrap the Dates
- Use your fingers to open the fruit where it's split. Press 1 1/2 teaspoons of goat cheese into the date's cavity. Lay the dates on a square of puff pastry dough and continue filling in the remaining dates.
- Once the first 25 dates are filled and centered on their squares of dough, brush the edges of the first row of puff pastry with the egg wash. Grab a square with the date positioned in the middle of it, turning the square so it looks like a diamond.
- Fold one of the side points towards the center before, then fold the opposite point towards the first point and press them together over the date. Next, fold the top and bottom points as you did with the side points. Work quickly so the egg wash doesn't dry out, if it does, just rebrush the edges with more.
- Bake the bites for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Check on the progress of the bites halfway through the bake time. It helps to rotate the pan 180°, so the bites bake evenly, but that's not a must.
Cool slightly, then top with Honey (optional)
- After baking, remove the pan from the oven and allow the date bites to cool for 1 minute.After 1 minute, use a spatula to transfer the bites to a cooling rack to cool completely or serve while warm.
- Drizzle a generous amount of honey over the dates in puff pastry as desired. Enjoy within 3 days of baking.
Swaps and Substitutions
- Instead of filling the dates with goat cheese, fill them with feta cheese, blue cheese, or Boursin. You can add nuts to the cheese or use only nuts like pecan halves, pistachios, or walnuts.
- Replace the plain goat cheese with honey goat cheese, lavender, spicy, or fig goat cheese or goat cheese with herby notes.
- Replace the plain honey drizzle with Lavender Honey, Hot honey, or Coffee-Infused Maple Syrup
Tips and Techniques:
- Use pitted dates for this recipe that are plump, fat, and darker in color.
- The sweeter the dates, the less savory your finished recipe will be.
- For people who need to watch their sugar intake, Iranian Piarom dates, which have less fructose are recommended.
- When using store-bought, frozen puff pastry, first, thaw it in the fridge overnight. Then, allow it to warm up at room temperature (on the counter while still wrapped) for 15 minutes before rolling it.
- Work with one sheet of puff pastry at a time if you use the store-bought puff pastry. Keep the other piece of dough (the one you're not working with) covered with a clean towel or wrapped in its wrapper to keep the dough from drying out.
- If you want to add more goat cheese, go up to 2 teaspoons. They still need to bake in the allocated bake time, or you risk burning the pastry dough, so don't add more than this.
- You can serve these dates by themselves as an appetizer or as a light lunch.
- If you plan to serve these to strict Muslims, purchase and use goat cheese and puff pastry labeled "halal." If the ingredients label on the goat cheese says microbial rennet, it's probably halal.
You can use my puff pastry recipe for a halal option as it contains no alcohol like some others might. Again, check the ingredients label for halal puff pastry. Shopping at a Middle Eastern store for halal products makes figuring these things out much easier.
- Store the unbaked puff pastry-wrapped dates in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days. Separate the layers with parchment, so they don't stick together. Put them in an airtight container and store them for 1-2 days.
- Store leftover baked date puff pastry bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can reheat them in a warm oven for 10-15 minutes or in an air fryer set at 350°F (180°C) for 3-4 minutes.
- Before baking:
- Arrange the unbaked puff pastry-wrapped dates on a sheetpan lined with parchment paper and freeze them until solid.
- Transfer the bites to a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to two months.
- Bake on a silicone baking mat-lined sheetpan, adding an additional 5 minutes to the baking time if baking from frozen.
- Allow the dates to cool completely on the sheetpan.
- Once cool, freeze the pastries until solid (still on the sheetpan).
- Transfer the pastries to a freezer-safe storage bag once frozen. Freeze them for up to 6 months.