Devils on horseback facts for kids
Bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates
|Course||Hors d'oeuvre or savoury|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|Main ingredients||Dried fruit (especially dates), chutney, bacon|
Devils on horseback are a hot appetizer or savoury small dish of bacon-wrapped dried fruit stuffed with various ingredients like cheese and nuts wrapped in bacon or similar pork like prosciutto or pancetta. The traditional form of the dish is made with a pitted prune and bacon, but dates are also used, usually steeped in brandy or some other liqueur. These are then fried or baked in the oven and quite often served on toast, with chutney and mustard.
The origin of the name "devils on horseback" is unclear. The Oxford English Dictionary states they are "Probably so called on account of being typically served very hot", and gives the earliest reference to 1885, in The Country Gentleman. Another source states that there are "a surfeit of theories", but dates the idea (as a refinement of the oyster in bacon combination) to 1800. One recurring suggestion fancifully suggests the name derives from "Norman raiders (who) would ride into towns wearing rashers of bacon over their armor to scare villagers". However the earliest mention of this is from 2008, while the dish itself dates from the 19th century, itself 700 years after the Norman Conquest.
Recipes vary, but in general they are a variation on angels on horseback (bacon wrapped oysters), made by replacing oysters with dried fruit. There are many variations on the basic concept of a bacon-wrapped prune, stuffed with cheese, almonds, or other things. Devils on horseback are commonly served as part of a Christmas feast.