Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dates -three recipes!

What I'm talking about are those brown dried dates that come from a palm tree. As a kid I wouldn't have put one in my mouth for any amount of money! I remember when my mom and I would drive from Phoenix to San Diego and when we went through Palm Springs my mom HAD to stop and get a date shake. Well, it took a Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake to change my view of these little brown delights! I've passed this first recipe around to a bunch of people before, but haven't made it this year, so no picture. I get them from Flying Disc Ranch at the SF Ferry Building farmer's market - they have about 6 different varieties. This first picture is the little date shakes I made for Rich, Rey and I on friday night. No official recipe, just took about 6 pitted dates in a blender with about 1/4 cup milk and 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream - mix up so it's blended - they are very rich, especially with a splash of bourbon on top!!

Sticky Toffee Pudding

3/4 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 and 1/8th cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup self rising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the dates with the water and baking soda and let sit. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the flour and the date mixture, including the water. Bake in a greased & floured 8 inch square pan at 350 degrees for about 30-40 min. In the meantime make the sauce below. After the cake has cooked pour about 1/4 of the sauce on top of the cake and return to the oven for 3 min. Serve warm with extra sauce. The dates just melt into the cake - so even if you think you don't like dates, you'll like this!

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup butter

Bring to a boil and simmer 5 min. add a tablespoon vanilla and keep warm.

Below is a little cream cheese date nut spread that I keep in the fridge (will keep a few weeks) I use it to spread on toast or bagels or even my waffles.

Pecan Date Spread

1/2 pound soft dates (I like Derries for this) pitted
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Simmer the dates in the water for about 5 min until soft and thick. Let cool a few min. In a blender puree dates with lemon juice then add cream cheese and cinnamon and mix until mostly smooth. Remove to a bowl and mix in the pecans. Store in the fridge.

Well, I guess you could take some dates to a movie for a healthy snack.

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