Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stuffed Dates with Almonds - Easy














I like dates.  Not the kind where you go out to dinner and a movie ... no, wait, those kind I like as well.  What I meant was those little dried sticky fruits that come in half- or one pound containers at the supermarket.  Or 2 pound gift behemoths from Israel that your son brought back, pretending that he carefully selected it from an open air market when in reality he bought it off a friend's mother at the airport.

Speaking of Israel, Tu B'Shevat is coming up next week.  Also known as New Year for Trees (because fruit-bearing trees are considered to have aged one year, like racehorses on Jan. 1st), this year it starts the evening of Wednesday, January 19th.   It's called Tu B'Shevat (pronounced TOO Besh-VAT) because it falls on the 15th (Tu stands for the numbers of 9 and 6 in Hebrew, which add up to 15) in the Jewish month of Shevat.  

According to that well-respected source of Jewish history, Wikipedia,  it is customary on Tu B'Shevat to plant trees and to eat dried fruits and nuts mentioned in the bible.  It's a big deal in Israel, the equivalent of Arbor Day.  But to many Jews in the US, it's a relatively minor holiday. Especially with the mountains of snow here in New Jersey, there's not much chance of planting any trees in the near future (although I usually start up some parsley on the windowsill now to harvest in April for Passover).














But happily, I can go to town on dried fruits and nuts.  Which brings me to today's recipe, stuffed dates with almonds.  Dates and almonds are just two of the traditional dried fruits and nuts traditionally served on Tu B'Shevat.  Add a schmear of cream cheese, and it's heaven on a plate!

Pretty much any variety of plain date, pre-pitted for your convenience, can be used.  Just don't buy those pre-stuffed dates rolled in coconut ... that sorta defeats the purpose. Serve as an appetizer or mini-dessert.

Stuffed Dates with Almonds - Easy
serves 6-8

1 container (8 ozs.) whipped cream cheese
2 Tbl. powdered sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 pkg. (8 ozs.) dried plain dates, pitted
1/4 cup (approx.) sliced or whole almonds














In a small mixing bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice.  Set aside.












Use a knife to widen the slit in each date, without cutting all the way through.














Spoon or pipe in about a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each.  














Top each date with almonds.  Just for funsies, I topped these dates three different ways. On the left is a peacock.  In the center I gently pressed in a whole almond.  On the right is a butterfly.  For some reason, they all tasted the same.

Serve cold or at room temperature.  If not serving within an hour or two, store, covered carefully, in the refrigerator up to a day.

5 comments:

The Mom Chef said...

This is wonderful. When you were talking about dates and the containers at the supermarket, what went through my head was the fact that the last good date I had was when we lived in Lebanon. Then I got to your line about getting some from Israel. Nothing beats fresh dried dates (except for stuffing them like you did!).

dena said...

Thanks, Mom Chef! I should have also mentioned that those Israeli dates were better than most brands available at the local supermarket.

Next time I'm at a farmer's market ...

Akearns said...

Thank you for adding the pics!!! :-)

Kels @ K and K Test Kitchen said...

Hi! I made these for SRC this month and absolutely loved them. Such a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. I loved exploring your blog to make my choice. Thanks for sharing!

dena said...

Kels, your photos were delicious! I would have thanked you on your blog but couldn't find where to comment.

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