Dates are an important crop in Libya so it's not surprising that they are a common ingredient in Libyan recipes. I have specifically chosen a dessert type recipe as often the combination of something sweet like dates with mutton or beef is not acceptable to western palates.
Whichever culture you or your guests come from you should find these sweet date pastries a very acceptable end to a meal or they may be eaten on their own as a treat.
Date Pastry Ingredients:-
21/2 oz (70g) General purpose flour
3 oz (85g) Coarse Semolina
3 oz (85g) Fine Semolina
½ cup (125ml) melted butter
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
11/2 cups (375ml) warm water
Date Paste Ingredients
½ lb (225g) stoned dates
4 tbsp (60ml) water
1 tsp (5ml) nutmeg
1 tsp (5ml) ground ginger
2 tsp (10ml) olive oil
2 oz (60g) sugar
½ cup (120ml) warm water
3tbsp (45ml) honey
4 tbsp (60ml) sesame seeds
To make the Dough
Add all the dry ingredients for the dough into a mixing bowl and stir well to mix.
Add the butter and mix well.
Add sufficient warm water to make a soft non-sticky dough.
Take a handful of the dough mixture and roll it out, if the dough crumbles while rolling return to the bowl and add a little more water, repeat until you are able to roll out a small sample without it crumbling.
Knead the dough until it is a soft and smooth consistency.
Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1/2 hour (This firms up the dough slightly making it easier to work with.)
To make the Date Filling
While the dough is being cooled blend the dates, water and olive oil into a smooth paste.
Add the nutmeg and ginger mixing very well.
To make the Date Pastry
Preheat the oven to 360 F (180C)
Remove the cooled dough from the refrigerator and roll out to about ¼ in (5mm) thick on a flat surface.
Spread the date paste as evenly as possible over the top surface of the rolled out dough and then roll the dough into a sausage (Swiss roll) shape.
Flatten the roll slightly so it becomes an oval.
Cut the rolled pastry diagonally into +/- 11/4 inch (32mm) slices.
Arrange the date pastries on a biscuit (cookie) tin or baking sheet, ensuring that they do not touch each other.
Place in the oven and bake for +/- 30 minutes until they become golden brown.
To make the Sugar Syrup.
While the date pastries are baking make the syrup.
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water add the honey.
Place on a heated cooking top and bring to the boil.
Continue boiling until the syrup takes on a light brown colour you will need to stir frequently to ensure the sugar does not stick to the bottom of the pan)
Remove the Libyan date pastries from the oven, pour the syrup over them while they are still hot and garnish with the sesame seeds.
I am sure you will find these delicious, sweet and somewhat sticky date pastries becoming a firm family favourite.
Recipe Yields 24 Libyan Date Pastries
35 minutes Cooking Time:-
35 minutes Total time:-
1 hour 10 minutes
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Date Published 21st
Author: Michael Tracey - Africhef