I am in love! I am in love!
With Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water.
Let me not get ahead of myself but start at the beginning. Last year, I was looking up recipes from Africa and the Middle-East when I found that several dessert recipes called for Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water. Some friends told me I could use Kewra instead but I was loathe to do that. Luckily, I had a friend, Aparna, who was coming down from Dubai and so I made a call to her. The sweetheart that she is, Aparna got me a large bottle of Orange Blossom Water and it remained unopened for over 6 months till this past Friday, when I finally made these almond paste stuffed dates.
The moment I broke open the seal and had the first whiff of the wonderful aroma of Orange Blossom Water, I knew I was done for. It is mild, floral and not at all citrusy as I had expected. When added to the food, it lent a beautiful taste that is instantly identifiable as middle-eastern.
These Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste were so-so easy to make and an absolute delight to taste. Very different from the Indian desserts that I am used to.
While the original recipe calls for medjool dates, I had the regular Indian dates at home and used those as a base for this recipe. Given that the Indian dates are much smaller in size and also softer in texture, pitting them while retaining the shape and then stuffing them was a bit of a challenge. However, the end result was delicious.
The next time around I will try this with Medjool dates and update the post! 🙂
How to Make Dates Stuffed with Almond Paste
Makes: 18-20 Small Stuffed Dates or 12 Medjool Dates
Time: 30 Minutes
- Indian Dates with Seed – 18 or 20
Medjool Dates – 12
- Almonds – 1/3 Cup
- Sugar – 1/4 Cup
- Butter – 1/4 tsp
- Orange Blossom Water – 1 tsp
- Cinnamon – 1/2″ piece
To Garnish (Optional)
- Crushed Pistachios – 4 or 5
- Crushed Almonds – 3
Method to Make the Almond Paste
- Boil about 2 cups water.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add the almonds to the boiling water.
- Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Drain the water.
- While the almonds are still warm, peel them by just pinching them.
- Grind together the sugar and cinnamon to a fine powder.
- Add the almonds grind to a smooth paste. Do not add water.
- Add butter and orange blossom water.
- Grind to smooth paste.
Method to Make the Almond Paste Stuffed Dates
- Pit or deseed the dates.
- Set aside.
- If using garnish, mix together the crushed pistachios and almonds.
- Set aside.
- Take a small portion of the almond paste and stuff each date.
- Just dip the almond paste portion of the date in the crushed pistachio and almond garnish.
- Repeat till all dates are stuffed.