From the Saharas of the Middle East
The lands where the most vital nourishment – water – is very scarce. Despite the heat and the harsh conditions – and from the quiet of the desert – a sweet and nurturing life springs. One that is only made to give, it hardly ever takes (surrounded with almost non-existent resources). One form of life, that centuries ago gave hope to the merchants who, underestimated the desert, and found themselves lost in the middle of nowhere. The Date Palms, offered a beam of hope that these doomed lost travelers might still make it. That they will find food, water and shelter in an otherwise vast, orange, hot and lonely place!
If the nutritious dates can come out of such deprived environment, from such harsh conditions, and turn out so sweet, then there is hope for everyone.
It is the tradition to break fast with dates. Dates are believed to be very healthy (in moderation), supplementing your body with all the nutrients lost during the fasting. Dates also have a slow sugar release property that helps your body regain energy, without the harsh crash caused by fast sugar releasing foods. Besides the useful chemical composition of dates, they are extremely delicious. They chew, melting slowly as you chew, releasing sugar, oozing of sweetness, somewhere between a soft gummy and a soft fruit texture. The flavour is deep, touching on caramel and at times like toffee, with a distinct flavour utterly sweet.
Dates can be used in many different ways in the making of foods, sauces and desserts. They can be added whole to concoctions such as the Tagine of lamb and Prunes. You can also use dates in the making of some rice dishes, just like we use raisins. You can even, chop dates very finely, and use them to garnish large rice platters, such as Kapseh, Freekeh, Hashwet Kharoof…etc. But today, instead of using the dates to compliment a recipe, I am showing you how to create mouthwatering, beautiful, gem-like date desserts that will please everyone.
I have also included for you a video of a bride and groom chocolate dipped pretzels that I thought were such a cute wedding favour. I think with a bit of patience this can be also applied to the dates! Not everyone has the heart for such detailed work, but I do know some of you out there will love this and do work with such details.
So read on and enjoy…