This quick and easy after dinner treat would make a nice addition to an Oscar party spread (yes the Academy Awards are tonight!). Almond paste stuffed dates may be simple but will delight your senses after one luxurious bite. Dates have a nice caramel-like taste that pairs very well with the orange flower water scented almond paste. I recommend using Medjool dates which are plumper and softer than the more common variety, Deglet Noor, although those would definitely work as well. This Middle Eastern fruit has been enjoyed for thousands of years and is to me the perfect, all-natural dessert. Happy Oscar Night! (break a leg Whiplash, my fingers are crossed for you!)
from: One Good Dish
makes: 12 dates
1/2 cup blanched whole, raw, natural almonds *(see note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, plus a pinch
1 tablespoon orange flower water
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar or coarse raw sugar
12 large dates
Put the almonds, granulated sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon in a food processor and grind until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Add the orange flower water and pulse to incorporate.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and knead for a minute, or until it resembles a soft dough; add a few drops of water if necessary. Roll the paste into twelve 1/2-inch balls, then flatten into almond-shaped ovals. Split the tops of the dates lengthwise with a paring knife and remove the pits. Stuff each date with an oval of almond paste and put them on a serving platter.
Mix the Demerara sugar with the pinch of cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the dates and serve.
* To make blanched almonds, drop whole almonds into boiling water and let steep for 1 minute. Drain, let cool slightly, then pop the almonds from their skins.