Thursday, November 15, 2007

Date candy - a la Panforte

Panforte is a nut-filled Italian confection - kind of a cross between dessert and candy. It is traditionally served post-dinner with a cup of espresso. The one taste I had of this in Milan a few years ago is still strongly entrenched in my mind - a whole sea of flavors - raisins, chocolate, honey, orange, nuts, the works!

Dates are so versatile - luscious by themselves, even better in most desserts, they even go really well with spicy and tart flavors! And fresh dates are simply delicious - another fabulous travel memory is of eating dates off the tree in Egypt. *so* good!

The idea here was to come up with a recipe for some kind of date candy - an homage to Panforte of sorts. And maybe go with some different nuts - pistachios and cashews instead of hazelnuts and filberts. I also decided to skip the cocoa and let the dates define the flavor of the dessert.

Date'n' Nut Candy
An homage to Panforte

Servings: makes about 12 1.5" squares

8 dates - pitted
1/2 cup cashews - coarsely chopped

1/3 cup pistachios - coarsely chopped
10-12 almonds
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 t cayenne pepper

3 T honey

Juice of 1 orange

2 T lemon-ginger juice

1 T confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Toast almonds in oven for 10 minutes, remove and chop them into small pieces.

Boil the dates in about 3/4 cup of water till they soften. Drain and save the water.
Mash the dates along with the chopped nuts, flour, cinnamon and cayenne.
Toss this mix into the saved water and cook on simmer, stirring constantly.
Add the orange juice and honey and stir for 2-3 minutes until the honey is fully mixed in.
Take off the stove and add the lemon-ginger juice.
Pour into a greased pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.
Cool for 10-12 minutes before removing the candy from the pan.

Ok, I then ended up dusting some confectioners' sugar on the candy - not a big fan of super-refined sugar anymore, but figured I'd use my leftovers. It was saved from being too sweet courtesy of the cayenne.

These go off to Chandrika @ Akshayapatra for A Fruit A Month, the focus this month is dates.


Kribha said...

Yum. That is a heavenly combo. Loved the way you have dressed it with powdered sugar.Looks very very delicious.

Rajitha said...

they look like brownies..yum! and i loved the way u have taken the snap...esp. the first one

Asha said...

Slurp!! I am loving all the date goodies. Looks delicious girl, enjoy!:))

Sia said...

now thats one guiltless indulgence :)

Nic said...

Ooooh - I like the look of these, and great photos!

Laavanya said...

They look so pretty...

Seema Bhat said...

Looks like date halwa that I make. I loved the rich dark brownish black color of the end result. I am sure it must have tasted great. Great entry buddy.

Lissie said...

yummy yummy date candy.. :)) great entry!

Suganya said...

This is one sticky, chewy candy. I love it that way :)

Cynthia said...

Like the moody lighting you got here on these pics.

Sig said...

Beautiful pictures...

musical said...

Kaykat, love these candies-just mailed this link to my friend-her daughter is gonna' love these treats! Thanks a ton! and i am delighted to know that you love upma and khichdi too :). BTW, you have a very cute blog here, am addicted :).


Priya said...

I love the hot and sweet pairing and can already feel the chewiness...and you said espresso..ummmm..wish I had bought that pack of dates !

Bong Mom said...

perfect squares..loved the pic

Swati said...

They look extremely delicious.

Pravs said...

date candy sounds so yummy to try one.Nice pics.

bee said...

this has got to be wonderful tasting. looks like a brownie, but guilt-free.

Anonymous said...

In the first photo, the goodies look like they are floating! They sound great!

Nabeela said...

lovely take on panforte!