When I was a kid, around this time of year my mom made a traditional treat of dates dipped in amazing, home-made ghee with sweet spices and nuts! It was what you ate in Winter, as it was supposed to make you strong & smart 😉 yeah right! In season, I ate them with milk every morning before going to school.
It is true that dates have some nutrients which may aid in strength of body and/or mind, such as iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin B-complex, and most of all: high natural sugar for high energy. No wonder they call dates “marathon runners’ food.” When you add the nuts, they’re even better for you!
Here in Seattle, I have been searching for good dates for a while now. Finally when I saw them at my market, I bought in bulk — organic, Medjool dates!
These Medjools were big, juicy, & great for stuffing. Following the core ingredients of my mother’s recipe, I worked sugar, cardamom, pistachios, and almonds into a ghee-cream. It’s very much like the butter cream you see in frostings, except ghee is clarified and therefore better than butter.
To keep up with my new feature — sharing one of my mother’s traditional recipes every month — here are Winter Dates, done slightly differently I will admit! as I dressed them up. I am looking forward to being a kid all over again, though, as I grab a date before work every morning, & appreciate how lucky I am to have been born into a family of great cooks!
2 dozen Medjool dates, slitted, pits removed
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup ground raw pistachios and almonds
2-3 tablespoons cold ghee (clarified butter)
a couple pinches of ground cardamom
1. Whip up a cold ghee-cream, by beating the ghee and sugar to this consistency:
2. Mix the cardamom, pistachios, and almonds with the ghee-cream. Cream the ghee further while working the mixture in, one quarter cup or so at a time, until it is stiff and ready for piping:
3. Pipe the filling into slit and pitted dates. I filled a Ziploc® bag with the filling, then snipped off a bottom corner for inexpensive and easily controlled piping. Refrigerate your Winter Dates.
I now have two dozen stuffed Medjool dates, updated from my childhood, easing me into Winter workdays or a holiday party 🙂 Thank you, Mom – Enjoy the Indian Winter!!!