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A selection of date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks on a serving tray

Date, blue cheese & pancetta polenta stacks

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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:
    • Cook:
    • Plus 1 hr chilling
  • Easy
  • Serves 6-8 (makes 16)

Serve these date, blue cheese and pancetta polenta stacks as canapés at a party. Try a veggie twist by using chopped toasted nuts instead of pancetta for crunch

Nutrition: Per serving (8)


  • 8 thin pancetta rashers, halved
  • 1 tbsp olive oil , plus a little for the tin and for brushing
  • 500ml vegetable stock made with 2 tsp bouillon powder
  • 100g quick-cook polenta
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 25g parmesan (optional)
  • 120g creamy but sharp blue cheese such as Saint Agur or gorgonzola
  • 8 large medjool dates , pitted and cut in half lengthways
  • handful baby spinach leaves (you’ll need 32 leaves)
  • pomegranate molasses , to drizzle


  • STEP 1

    Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. On a baking tray, sandwich a single layer of pancetta rashers between two pieces of parchment, then weigh it down with a second tray (this will stop it wrinkling as it cooks). Bake for 10-15 mins until the fat is crisp and golden. Pat with kitchen paper to absorb any excess fat. The pancetta can be cooked a day ahead and chilled. Reheat before serving.

  • STEP 2

    Oil a 20cm round tin. Boil the stock in a saucepan, then slowly stir in the polenta and simmer for 5 mins, whisking, until thick and smooth. Stir in 1 tbsp oil, the rosemary and parmesan, if using, and season. Spoon the mixture into the tin, level the top, then set in the fridge for at least 1 hr in the fridge or until very firm.

  • STEP 3

    When ready to eat, heat a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan until hot. Cut the set polenta into 16 wedges, brush with a little oil, then cook for 4 mins on each side or until golden and marked. Transfer to a serving plate or board. The polenta can be griddled a day ahead. Reheat it in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile, use a cutlery knife to push about 1 tsp cheese into the middle of each date half. Thread a cocktail stick through each stuffed date, then add a piece of pancetta, two spinach leaves and a wedge of hot polenta. To serve, drizzle with a little of the pomegranate molasses.


You could skip cooking the pancetta by buying smoked crispy bacon, then breaking it into shards.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2018

Goes well with


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