Walnut Date Phyllo Cups with Blue Cheese and Candied Bacon

Walnut Date Phyllo Cups with Blue Cheese and Candied Bacon

These fancy little walnut date cups are the perfect savory-sweet treat for a holiday brunch.

Ingredients

For the Phyllo Cups:

  • 1 cup California walnuts, toasted
  • 12 ounces Medjool dates, pitted and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 4 (18 x 12-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed and brought to room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

For the Candied Bacon:

  • 3 slices bacon, about 1/4-inch thick (or more, for fun)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

For the Phyllo Cups:

  1. Make candied bacon (see recipe below) and set aside to cool.
  2. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  3. In a food processor, pulse together the walnuts, dates, orange zest, and orange juice until a coarse, nutty spread is formed. I prefer my filling on the chunky side, but evenly combined.
  4. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface. Brush the dough with melted butter. Place another sheet of dough on top and brush with melted butter. Repeat until you have 4 sheets of dough stacked.
  5. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 24 (3-inch) square pieces.
  6. Gently press each piece of dough into the muffin pan. Spoon the walnut and date filling into the cups.
  7. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and let the phyllo cups cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Using a small spoon, remove the phyllo cups from the pan. Arrange the cups on a platter, top each one with a little blue cheese and garnish with a piece of candied bacon.

For the Candied Bacon:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Sprinkle the bacon with the brown sugar, coating both sides.
  3. Cover a shallow baking pan with parchment paper and arrange the bacon in a single layer on top. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top, and place a baking sheet over that. The baking sheet will keep the bacon from curling up as it cooks. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift the baking sheet and parchment (be careful, they are very hot) and if the bacon is not golden brown and crispy, bake it for another 5 to 15 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Transfer the bacon to a wire rack (not paper towels because the sugar will make it stick) and let it harden up a bit more. Break or cut each strip into small shards or pieces. Set aside for garnishing.