Sweet flavors are well known for bringing out the tangy brightness of goat cheese. Most recipes incorporate caramelized onions for this purpose. Salty, sweet, and rich, they perfectly complement the creamy brightness of fresh chèvre. Unfortunately, slow-cooking onions to bring out their enticing caramel flavor can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
A coarse paste made from puréed dates, cut with a bit of water, can serve as a time-sensitive substitute for the rich flavor profile characteristic of caramelized onions. Dates' natural sweetness and deep flavor perfectly complement the sharp, bright flavor of creamy goat cheese, resulting in a pleasing and complex appetizer dish. Suitable for pairing with champagne cocktails or as a prelude to a fine meal, this recipe is an excellent way to impress guests using minimal effort. —Madeline
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating, prepare the date spread: pulse 1 cup pitted dates in a food processor while slowly adding warm water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles a sticky jam, with some chunks remaining. Add a pinch of salt and pulse once more.
Arrange the breads on a large cookie sheet and distribute the date paste evenly between the flatbreads, spreading out evenly to the edges of each piece. Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle across evenly, topping with half of the fresh herbs, a sprinkle of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook 3–5 minutes more, until the goat cheese is browned and bubbling.
Upon removing the breads from the oven, drizzle with the honey and top with the remaining herbs and salt to taste. To serve, cut into wedges and arrange as for finger foods.