Ramadhaan has dawned upon us once again. Dates are out in full force, from fruit shops, to grocery stores and even the local supermarket chain. Dates are very nutritious, full of fibre and great to stave off hunger pangs, no wonder it’s the perfect food to break fast with. The best part is that this wonderful treat is not only good for you, it tastes good and most importantly it’s Sunnah!
We go through a lot of dates during Ramadhaan, so I’ve come up with some date recipes to spice things up a little. There’s no doubt that dates taste great just by themselves, but if you do want to try something a little different, are having guests over or even need a treat outside of Ramadhaan, give these a go.
Pistachio Cashew Dates
Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Crush pistachio and cashews. You’ll need 1 tsp of nuts per date. Fill dates with crushed nuts.
Coconut Almond Dates
This is an old classic. Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill 1 almond in each date. Heat butter on stove, throw in coconut, again you’ll need approximately 1 tsp per date. Roll dates in heated butter and coconut mixture.
Cream Cheese Walnut Dates
Split date on 1 side and remove pit. Fill each date with approx. 1/2 tsp cream cheese and 1 walnut which you can crush by hand. This is my personal favourite, it’s a recipe given to me by a friend. Thanks Christina!
Give these a try sometime, great during Ramadhaan or any time really. Ramadhaan Mubarak to everyone out there, hope you all have a blessed month.
I made these for a family get together. They were a hit. They’re very simple, especially if you already have a cupcake recipe you love, but they’re different and very tasty.
What you’ll need
1/2 cup crushed pistachios per 12 cupcakes*
1/2 cup icing (I used buttercream and tinted it a light green)
Plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
I used my no mixer cupcake recipe.
*The next time I make these I’ll probably roast the nuts first. It brings out the flavour in the nuts and the crispier texture would go better in the cupcakes
After making your cupcake mixture, fold in half a cup of crushed pistachios. Fill and bake cupcakes as normal. I made these cupcakes with a plain buttercream but I think a white chocolate ganache would go nicely as well. Pipe on your icing and sprinkle with more nuts.
The pistachios add a wonderful texture while still keeping the cupcakes moist and fluffy. If you love pistachios, try my pistachio macaron recipe.
It seems lately that macarons have shot into popularity with them being featured frequently on TV cooking shows like Masterchef & Zumbo. My first taste of a macaron was in Singapore with my husband. I had no idea what to expect, I bought a chocolate macaron. I bit into it’s crisp shell and soft, luscious inside just melted into my mouth with the creamy ganache filling. YUM!
I have been determined ever since to recreate these little treasures. After a lot of research, I realised it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Macarons are notorious for being temperamental and hard to master. That shattered my spirits a little but hey, why not give it a go. Well, I did, my first 3 attempts were complete failures. But I kept going. Plucked up the courage to try once more and finally achieved my first decent macaron. Pistachio!
Here’s my recipe (taken from various sources, cookbooks & websites)
Ingredients (this has to be precise and measured as accurately as possible)
35 g Egg whites (approx 1 egg white)
55g Pure icing sugar (pure icing sugar without any corn flour/starch)
45g Almond meal (blanched-skins removed)
30g castor sugar
This recipe makes about 10 macarons once sandwiched (20 halves)
Combine almond meal and icing sugar, grind until it becomes a fine powder. Sieve the almond meal and sugar mixture and discard any big bits, set aside. In a clean stainless steel or glass bowl, with an electric whisk, whick the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly drop in castor sugar until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. If using food colouring add it into the egg whites now and give it a quick whisk once more (a gel colouring is recommended). I used a little blue and yellow colouring to make a green shell, next time I think I’ll go darker. Sieve the almond and sugar mixture onto the egg whites and fold it in. Keep folding until the mixture is just incorporated into the egg whites. The mixture needs to be firm but loose enough that it settles back into itself if you make a line through the centre.
Line a tray with baking paper, then fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe into 3cm rounds. Leave aside for 30 minutes to form a skin and pre-heat the oven to 150°C. The cooler weather in Australia at the moment is ideal for macarons, the humidity during summer can really affect the formation of a skin (Tip – You know the macaron is ready for the oven when you touch it with your finger and it does not stick)
Put it into the oven for 15 minutes. By definition a macaron must have that cracked, airy crease at the bottom (known as feet), you should see this after 5-10 minutes of baking. Let the macarons cool and remove them from the baking paper. If they’re having trouble lifting off, sprinkle some water under the paper. Set aside to cool, ideally leave the macarons for a day in the fridge in an airtight container. Fill macarons with buttercream or ganache filling. I filled my macarons with buttercream that I had added crushed roasted pistachios to.