Nature’s sweetest bonbon (French for sweets, which literally means good-good). It’s so doubly good, so rich and nourishing, that, in Islamic tradition, date is considered to be one the ‘Fruits of Paradise‘. Others are Olives, Pomegranates, Grapes, Figs, Banana, Milk, Honey and Ginger.
Date is the fruit of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.). Its name comes from the Greek word for “finger,” dáktulos, because of the fruit’s elongated shape. It is believed to have originated around Iraq and its Arabic name is ‘tamr’. There are over 20 known species of dates and over 40 or more types. The most popular in the West are Madjool and Deglet Nour (meaning ‘a piece of light’). The latter is my own little sweetheart.
Date is a veritable power house that provides instantaneous energy due to its high natural sugar content and a wide range of essential goodies: 15 minerals, 23 types of amino acids, 6 vitamins, soluble and insoluble dietary fibre, 8 fatty acids ( low amount), and zero cholesterol. In many ways, dates may be considered as an almost ideal food and medicine.
They help maintain a healthy nervous system, lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol, protect teeth against decay, provide relief from constipation, diarrhea and other intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunction, abdominal cancer. They improve eye-sight and even cure night blindness.
However blessed, this amazing fruit is still a candy,so, unless you want to gain weight, go easy on them ( 1-3 will do).
Here are some super simple recipes of how you can use dates as a base for raw deserts.
1 date, pitted and cut lengthwise on one side
1 nut (any nut will do)
A couple of raw cacao nibs
Place the nut inside the date ‘bun’ and sprinkle a couple of cacao nibs on top.
Power House Balls
1 cup of pitted dates
1 cup of any natural nuts (walnut, almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios etc.)
1 tea spoon vanilla powder
A pinch of salt
1 table spoon of any seeds (hemp, sesame, sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds etc)
1 table spoon coconut flakes or raw cacao nibs or powder (optional)
1. In the bowl of a blender combine dates and nuts and process until finely chopped and sticking together, about 1 minute 30 seconds. Add seeds, and salt, (even coconut flakes or cacao nibs or powder) and pulse until forms a thick paste, about 1 minute more.
2. Scoop a rounded tablespoon of paste and roll into a ball using your hands. Repeat with remaining paste. Let cookies chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Raw Berry Peachy Pie
Power House Balls – the same amount as the above
2 to 3 bananas, sliced lengthwise
1 cup strawberries, blended into puree
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup raspberries
4 peaches, sliced
5-6 mint leaves, finely chopped for garnish
1. Blend crust ingredients together in a food processor to achieve a sticky consistency.
2. Press blended crust ingredients into a pie pan.
3. Lay the bananas on top of the crust and press along the sides.
4. Place strawberry slices on top of the bananas.
5. Pour strawberry puree over the strawberries and bananas, and press into the gaps.
6. Place berries and peaches on top of the pie. Garnish with mint leaves.
Cover and refrigerate for one hour or longer before serving.
I made a mini version of this raw pie in a glass for the sake of presentation – choose which ever format appeals to your aesthetic eye!
These delectable raw desserts are a great date for Iftar after a long day of fasting.
Enjoy their company powerfully!