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    The Anchor's Dates in Bacon with Cream Sauce

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    The Anchor's Dates in Bacon with Cream Sauce

    The Anchor's head chef, Babs Jordan, was happy to share this recipe with us. "People often refer to this as devils on horseback," she says, "which is bacon-wrapped prunes. But the addition of the cream sauce makes this much more unctuous."

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 12 minutes
    • Total time: 42 minutes 45 minutes

    Serves: 6 as a starter


    • 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
    • 24 stoneless dates, such as medjool
    • Sauce
    • Large knob of unsalted butter
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
    • 150ml dry white wine
    • 284ml carton whipping cream
    • 2 heaped tsp grain mustard
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • Chopped parsley, to garnish


    1. Preheat the oven to 230°C, gas mark 8.
    2. Hold a rasher of bacon by one end and use the blunt side of a knife to gently stretch it out by about another quarter - this helps make the bacon crisper when cooked. Repeat with all the bacon. Cut each rasher in half and roll one half around each date. Refrigerate while you make the sauce.
    3. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a gentle heat, add the garlic and shallot and sweat them gently for about 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the wine, turn up the heat and boil until the liquid is reduced by a half. Strain the mixture through a sieve and return to the pan. Add the cream and mustard, bring to a rolling boil and boil for 30 seconds. Season if necessary (bear in mind that the bacon is quite salty).
    4. Divide the mustard cream between six 10-12cm-diameter gratin dishes. Add four dates to each dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the bacon browning. Finish off the dish with 2 minutes under a very hot grill to really crisp up the bacon. Serve sprinkled with parsley, with some granary bread.

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