Cheddar Stuffed Dates with Orange Fennel Sauce

A fancy appetizer of stuffed dates can be super-quick when stuffed with aged Cheddar cheese and served with a savory-sweet orange fennel sauce.

  • Yield: 15-25 dates 1x


  • 25 small dates or 15 Medjool dates
  • 23 ounces aged Cheddar cheese (I used Cabot Legacy Alpine Cheddar )
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 oranges
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt


  1. Using kitchen shears, slice open one side of date. (if pitted remove pit)
  2. Cut cheese into date-sized sticks; about 1/4-in x 3/4-in for small dates OR 1/2-in x 1 1/4-in for Medjool dates. Set aside.
  3. Place fennel seeds in dry skillet over medium heat and toast for 5 minutes – being cautious not to burn. Set aside.
  4. Zest 1 orange into a medium bowl. Using a knife, remove peel of the zested orange plus 1 more orange. Cut orange into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Juice 2 more oranges. Add water to orange juice to yield 1 1/3 cups juice.
  6. In a medium saucepan, whisk together orange juice, cornstarch, honey and optional wine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes more over medium heat until thickened. Stir in fennel and salt.
  7. Serve orange sauce with dates or nestle dates in sauce and serve with toothpicks/forks alongside.