[Sca-cooks] Dates

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Feb 8 23:57:19 PST 2008

Felicia wrote:
>How should dates be stored?  I have searched the web with as many 
>different ways of phrasing "How should dates be stored" with no real 
>luck.  I keep getting references to storing data!
>I feel like if I put them in the refrigerator, they will get sticky 
>from the humidity.  However, leaving them in their box on the 
>counter doesn't seem quite right either.  They arrived in only a box 
>with a piece of celophane folded over them.

Put 'em well covered (in a tightly sealed container) in a cool dark 
place. They don't need to be refrigerated, and they will survive out 
on your counter.

As for all the recipes you are receiving, i really think it's a waste 
of good dates to mix them with all those other ingredients. I really 
think these should be enjoyed as they are.

They will keep for a long long time. Sometimes some of the sugar in 
them will crystallize on their surface, so if you see some white on 
their skins, it's not likely to be mold, but just their own natural 

As for period mamoul... there's no such thing... that is, there are 
several recipes with different names that appear to make something 
like mamoul, but they're not called mamoul. Most say to stuff with 
chopped nuts mixed with sugar and rosewater, but that some people 
prefer to use dates.

Anyway, here's a recipes for
Irnin - Date Squares
This is a modern recipe, but very close to a recipe in the 14th c. 
Book of the Description of Familiar Foods
Makes 30 to 36 squares

1/2 lb. dates, pitted and chopped (about 1-1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves

3-1/4 cups fine semolina
a pinch of salt
1-1/2 sticks salted butter, melted
3 TB. orange flower water
1/2 cup water

Prepare Filling:
Put dates in a saucepan with cinnamon and cloves and a few 
tablespoons of water.
Cook on low heat, stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon until puree-like.
Remove from pan and let cool, shaping into a ball.

Prepare Dough:
Put semolina in a large bowl and mix in salt.
Make a well in the middle of the semolina.
Pour in the melted butter, rubbing with your fingertips until all the 
grains are coated with butter.
Add orange flower water and just enough water to bind the mixture.
Knead until smooth.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Make Cookies:
Butter a baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
Divide dough into 2 equal parts.
Take one half. Place it on greased baking sheet or jelly roll pan. 
Flatten somewhat.
Place ball of dates on top and flatten somewhat, oiling your hand 
helps keep you from sticking.
Flatten second half of dough somewhat, and place it on top of the 
dates. Then flatten the whole thing evenly until you have a big, flat 
"cake" about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut/mark 1 inch squares or lozenges - lozenges look nicer but may be 
more difficult, so squares are fine.
Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes or until done - could be 
shorter, could be longer.
Check often. Pastry should NOT change color significantly.

Remove pan from oven.
Leaving pastry in pan, cut through bars and cool pan of pastries on wire rack.

NOTE: If you like you could also add rosewater or orange flower water 
to date paste

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