Fresh goat cheese, deeply flavorful Blenheim apricots (tangier and sweeter than Turkish apricots) and stubby, rich Marcona almonds are worth using here, because in a recipe this simple, the flavors are really noticeable.
4 ounces fresh goat cheese such as Laura Chenel, at room temperature
About 2 tsp. milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
40 dried apricots, preferably Blenheim*
40 almonds, preferably Marcona or Marchini*
2 teaspoons honey
How to Make It
Mix together cheese, 2 tsp. milk, and basil with a wooden spoon until spreadable. Thin with more milk if necessary.
Spread a heaping 1/4 tsp. cheese on each apricot and top each with an almond. Drizzle with honey.
*Find dried Blenheims and Spanish Marcona almonds (or California-grown Marchini, which are similar) at well-stocked grocery stores, or order Blenheims from B&R Farms (brfarms.com) and Marchini from J. Marchini Farms (marchinialmond.com).
Make ahead: 1 day ahead. Bring to room temperature, and drizzle with honey before serving.
This was easy to make and the fresh basil was great. I soaked the apricots I had, in hot orange juice which had a splash of Grand Marnier. . The presentation was beautiful since I piped the goat cheese with a star tip. Everyone at the party, loved the flavor and texture combination.
Pretty good and extremely easy, just not the perfect chemistry of flavors I was hoping for, especially with these high-quality (and not cheap) ingredients. I got the Laura Chenel, the Blenheims, and the Marconas. My only deviation was in using basil that comes frozen in little cubes. Maybe fresh basil would have made all the difference in the world. I'll probably never know! If you want a REALLY great appetizer from this site, look for the goat cheese, walnut & orange stuffed endive. It's fresh and delicious.
Wow! We tasted the Bienheim apricots and they were incredible then tasted the Marcona almonds and were totally blown away. We don't care for goat cheese so we used a sheep's milk Feta. Worked wonderfully. Used a fresh sweet basil with a minimal licorice flavor. Couldn't decide if we liked them better with or without the honey so made a plateful of each. Definitely an outstanding recipe. Great for company.
I took this to a dinner party and everyone seemed to enjoy them immensely. They were easy to make and could be made the day ahead. I would be careful about adding too much liquid to the cheese. I think I added too much and mine mixture was a bit runny. It did harden in the refrigerator.
Made these tonight and enjoyed the apricot, honey and cheese combo. Fresh basil certainly adds a zing to it, while the almonds enrich the texture. Next time, however, I'd probably let the dried apricots soak in lukewarm water for a minute or two, so that they taste more velvety... sort of :)