Charging in with so much flavor.
When it comes to appetizers you want something that’s a little creamy, a little crunchy, and a lot delicious. These cherubs on horseback may have an unusual name, but they have all the necessary qualifications of a very tasty starter. As a play on the classic Italian pancetta and fruit pairings, these little bites of joy have a subtle sweet-savory combo going on.
The “horseback” here I believe refers to the toothpick through the center, sort of like a hobby horse. The “cherubs” are the wings that appear when you butterfly the dried apricots.
If you pick only the biggest apricots you can pry them apart with just your fingers. But, a sharp knife can help to separate the apricot into (almost) 2 halves. Just be sure to leave a little area on one side connected.
The filling is simple to make and adds that creamy taste and texture to these little appetizers. If you want to simplify the process you can make the filling ahead of time. This also lets the thyme release some if its flavor into the cream cheese, so it’s a double win if you ask me.
Scoop a little filling into each butterflied apricot. Then you wrap each one in a piece of cooked bacon that’s not too crispy. You want to bacon to remain flexible so that it doesn’t snap when you roll it around the apricots. The toothpicks keep it all together. How many servings you get from the batch depends on how your bacon is cut and how they roll up. I ended up cutting many of the pieces in half to maximize my roll-able pieces.
Then you fry them again until the filling is warm and gooey and the bottom of the bacon is crisp.
For a yummy appetizer these cherubs on horseback make the perfect hors d’oeuvres.
Cherubs on Horseback
Makes 20-30 appetizers
25m prep time
20m cook time
- 20-30 dried apricots
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb sliced bacon
- Butterfly each apricot, cutting almost through each one. Or peel apart using fingers.
- Combine cream cheese, thyme, and black pepper in small bowl. Place a spoonful of cream cheese mixture on each cut apricot.
- In large skillet on medium high-heat cook bacon for 2 minutes on each side. Do not cook until crispy.
- Roll each apricot in a strip of bacon- or half strip depending on how long the pieces are. Secure with plain wooden toothpicks.
- Heat skillet to medium-low. Gently place wrapped apricots in pan and cook until bacon is crispy, rotating if needed. Do not overcook. Serve immediately while filling is still warm.
Recipe adapted from Wealden Times .