Wednesday 1 October 2014

Sticky dates

Somehow I have three jars of marmalade in my fridge. I can explain. My mum makes cumquat marmalade, so there's one of hers that made its way south sometime in my carry on baggage. Inspired by a burst of bright orange in the midst of grey winter I recently tried my hand myself with tangelos. And, a few weeks ago, I was gifted a jar of mandarin marmalade (laced with brandy!) by my friend Amy's mum (a wonderful cook), made with fruit from her backyard tree. There's only so much toast you can eat. Or cakes you can make. So it seemed a good time to give this recipe a go. Especially in a week in Sydney when temperatures climbed to mid-summer levels in early spring. When you don't feel like cooking, when the only things you want to eat are cold, when you don't necessarily want to eat that much at all... Dates are delicious all on their own. Caramelly and dense and sighingly sweet. But when you combine them with some sharp citrus and pretty pale green pistachios, they are elevated into an effortless, elegant dessert. Three ingredients, two bites, one spectacular sweet for spring, summer, any season really. 

Sticky dates
Adapted from a recipe published in the Sydney Morning Herald's The Good Weekend

No need to make such a large quantity - just scale to fit your needs. The original recipe recommends serving them with espresso, which I have not tried, but I imagine is a classy combination. Medjool dates are the ones you find in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, not the dried ones in packets in the aisles. Homemade marmalade is lovely for this but store-bought would be just fine too.

12 Medjool dates
1/3 cup roasted pistachio nuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoons orange (or tangelo or mandarin or cumquat) marmalade 

Using a small knife, cut into each date lengthways, not cutting all the way through, but just til you hit the pip. Remove pip and discard.

For the filling, combine the pistachios and marmalade and mix til the nuts are coated in the jam.

Stuff the dates with equal quantities of the filling, being careful not to tear them apart. Press together to enclose and refrigerate for 20 minutes or til they have firmed up.

Makes 12.


  1. Oh YUM! Now you would know that those would be right with my particular taste buds ... can't wait to try them.