Devils on Horseback

Wrap anything in bacon (save for rubber), toast it in the oven, and it’s bound to be eaten. This British pub snack of salty, crunchy bacon and boozy, sweet prunes is a major crowd-pleaser, and simple to prepare. The dried plums can be steeped in port and wrapped in bacon ahead of time. When guests arrive, just pop the prunes in the oven. And you can experiment with these, too: Stuff the prunes with blue cheese or toasted walnuts before wrapping.

30 pitted prunes (about 8 ounces)
1 cup tawny port
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
10 thin slices smoky bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
30 toothpicks, soaked in water for at least 15 minutes

1. Heat the oven to 500°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Combine the prunes, port, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the port thickens into a loose syrup, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, for about 10 minutes, then drain the prunes of excess syrup or reserve syrup for other uses (for example, serve with seared meats or drizzle into a glass of seltzer or Champagne).
3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, then set a cooling rack over the foil.
4. Wrap a piece of bacon around each prune and secure with a toothpick. Place the prunes at least 1 inch apart on the cooling rack. Bake for 7 minutes, then flip the prunes with tongs and continue to bake until crispy, about 7 to 9 minutes more. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cool slightly before serving.
Makes 30 pieces. –JILL SANTOPIETRO for