Date and Bacon Tarts with Mascarpone and Hazelnuts + Savory Fig, Rosemary and Parmesan Cornmeal Cookies

December 22, 2016

These sweet and savory holiday party snacks pair well with the 2013 Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon I received from Cultivar Wine

Holiday Appetizer Recipes | Date and Bacon Tarts with Mascarpone and Hazelnuts + Savory Fig, Rosemary and Parmesan Cornmeal Cookies | Fake Food Free #freeproductreview

Tis the season for snacks and appetizers. At least that is what I’ve been telling myself as I’ve snacked my way through breakfast, lunch, and dinner the past week. I try to rotate a carrot or celery stick in every now and then, but who am I kidding. 

At this point, it’s best to cast dietary caution to the wind and enjoy some holiday food. And drink a little wine. 


Cultivar Wine sent me their December wine shipment a couple weeks ago and I was thrilled to find a Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon. I really enjoy the Leaky Lake and the 2013 did not disappoint. Given my snacking lately, it seemed appropriate the pair this lovely wine with some type of appetizers or party snacks. With notes of black cherry, mocha, and vanilla as well as a little sweet oak, it is perfect for a savory snack, and tannins that aren’t too overpowering allow it to pair with a savory appetizer that has just a touch of sweetness.

Holiday Appetizer Recipes paired with Cultivar Wine | Fake Food Free #freeproductreview

 So I turned to my new two favorite seasonal ingredients to help me come up with something – dates and figs. 

I’m kind of crazy about these tarts. The crust bakes up light and flakey and the filling is sweet with just a hint of salty, smoky bacon flavor. Mascarpone makes the best topper because while it has the consistency of a cream cheese, it lacks the tanginess, making it a better match with the other ingredients. The hazelnuts add a pleasant crunch. 

Next up are the savory cookies. Every time I make some, I wonder why I don’t do so more often. The consistency of a good cookie, but the satisfying flavor of a salty snack. And I’m not even a salty snacks person. That’s probably why I add a little bit of dried fig so you get just a touch of sweetness in each cookie. 

Savory Fig Rosemary Parmesan Cornmeal Cookie Recipe | Fake Food Free | #freeproductreview

Both have all the best qualities of a good party snack – they can be made ahead of time and there is a good chance none will be leftover. The tart crust and the savory cookie dough will need to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes so plan ahead accordingly for your festivities. 


Date and Bacon Tarts with Mascarpone and Hazelnuts

Makes 12 tarts

What you’ll need:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine ground smoked sea salt
Pinch sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water

3 slices finely chopped bacon
3/4 cup chopped dates (not sweetened dates)
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Mascarpone cheese and chopped hazelnuts for garnish


How to make it:

To make the crust, place the flour, sea salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the butter is chopped into pea-size pieces and evenly distributed throughout the flour. Add 3 tablespoons of water. Process on medium to high, until the dough comes together in a ball in the center of the food processor, about 30 seconds. If the dough is dry, add the extra tablespoon of water, 1 teaspoon at a time. 

Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or until ready to use. 

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a medium skillet until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon a bowl. Once it’s cool enough to touch, but still warm, chop into even finer pieces. Return it to the bowl and add the dates to the warm bacon. Stir well. Stir in the flour. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Roll the dough for the crust on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use a 2.5 inch round cutter to cut the dough into 12 circles. Transfer each circle to the slot of an ungreased standard 12-muffin tin. (You can discard the dough scraps, or sometimes I gather them together into another disk and freeze to make a small galette later)

Gently press the circle of dough into the bottom of the tin. The dough should extend up the sides just an 1/8 of an inch or so to create a shallow cup. Divide the date and bacon filling among the tart crusts. 

Bake for about 18 minutes, until the crust begins to turn golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, then use a spoon to gently slide the tarts out of the pan. 

Before serving add a dollop of mascarpone cheese to each tart and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts. 




Savory Fig, Rosemary and Parmesan Cornmeal Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

What you’ll need:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 large egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 dried Black Mission figs, finely chopped


How to make it:

Add the butter and cornmeal to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium for about 1 minute, until combined and crumbly. Mix in the egg. 

With the mixer on low, blend in the sugar, salt, pepper, baking powder, and rosemary. Next, mix in the parmesan. 

In a small bowl, toss the flour with the figs to coat each piece. Add the flour and figs to the mixing bowl and mix on medium-high to high until the dough comes together in a ball, about 45 seconds. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap into a 9 inch circle, a little thicker than 1/4 inch. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out 18 cookies (you will need to gather scraps and re-roll the dough). Place the cookies on a baking sheet covered in a silicone mat or parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cookies are firm and the edges begin to brown. 

Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving. 





Disclosure:  I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site, Fake Food Free, and Cultivar Wine. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of product. All opinions presented are my own. I receive wine from Cultivar Wine as a member of the Cultivar Wine Bloggers group. 

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