Blue Cheese with Sugared Dates
If you like blue cheese this is a winner, a tangy bite of cheese complemented by the heat of the apricot and ginger chutney and the crunch and sweetness of the dates – and of course it could always be made with another cheese if you prefer.
I use a blue variety called Castello. I have tried Stilton but it was too crumbly, so Castello, a creamy blue, was my choice. The recipe for the apricot chutney is given below, but shop bought would speed up preparation.
As mentioned in previous recipes, a set of plain ring cutters by Kitchen Craft are needed to cut the bread for the croute and to keep the cheese the same neat shape. They are available from Amazon.
FOR THE CROUTE
Medium sliced bread
salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
Using a 3cms cutter, cut out circles from the bread. Lightly brush with olive oil. Season and place the circles on a baking sheet, cover with baking parchment and then place another baking sheet on top.
Cook for approximately 10 minutes until the underside is golden brown. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container until required. (They will keep several days)
FOR THE TOPPING
Castello or similar creamy blue cheese
pitted Medjool dates
Apricot and ginger chutney (recipe below)
Cut the cheese into slices, approximately 1/2 cm thick. Cut circles out of the cheese the same diameter as the croute.
Top the croute with the cheese. Cut the dates across into small slices, halve if they are still too bulky and then dip into demerara sugar, so they are generously covered.
Put the sugared dates and a small spoonful of apricot and ginger chutney on each piece of cheese.
Eat... or store, lightly covered with cling film for up to 2 hours.
If not required for some time, decorate the cheese discs and keep, covered, in the fridge until required. Allow the cheese to come to almost room temperature, before sliding onto a knife and placing on the croute.
APRICOT & GINGER CHUTNEY
45 gms dried apricots, chopped
1/2 small onion chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbs white wine vinegar
40 mls orange juice
1 tbs caster sugar
Cook the chopped onion in the olive oil until soft.
Add the chopped apricots and chopped ginger, followed by the vinegar and the orange juice. Cook for 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed.
Add the sugar and cook, stirring from time to time, until it has dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Cool and, if not using within a few days, store in a sterilised jar until required.