Stuffed Dates with Pistachios
Mascarpone stuffed dates with pistachios is a versatile and easy no-bake dish. It makes a great dessert, appetizer or snack. On top of that, the dessert is so easy to assemble my 6-year-old little sis-in-law can do it!
I used Deglet Noor dates because the texture is firm and thick without tasting overly sweet. This makes them perfect for appetizers. For a sweeter version, you could use Medjool dates.
To make the dish, I pitted the dates and filled them cannoli-style with mascarpone cream. Crushed pistachios add texture, flavor and color. I placed the stuffed dates on a bed of thin butter almond cookies to enhance the presentation and make them easier to handle.
Yields: 15 appetizers30 Deglet Noor dates
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup heavy whipping cream, cold
1-½ tablespoons powdered sugar, + extra for decoration
1 tablespoon date syrup
1 drop kewra extract
3 tablespoons unsalted pistachio, slightly crushed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
15 thin butter almond cookies
½ teaspoon red-colored sugar, for garnish
Slit the dates open on each end and carefully remove and discard the pits using a chopstick, creating a hole in the center of each date.
In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone cheese, kewra extract, date syrup and sea salt.
Using a mini whisk, beat the cream in another bowl until it forms soft peaks. Do NOT over-mix. Add powdered sugar. Pour 1/3 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to soften it. Mix well using a silicone spatula. Pour in the rest of the whipped cream; gently fold the cream into the mascarpone to get an airy mousse.
Plastic-wrap the container and place in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
Pipe a little filling into each end of the date. Dip each end in the crushed pistachios.
Pipe 2 (1-inch) "snakes" parallel to each other onto an almond thin. The cream will act as a "glue" and will bond the dates to the cookie. Place 2 dates onto the creamed snakes.
Repeat until all the dates are placed. Place the cookies on a serving platter. Pipe little flowers with the rest of the cream.
Dust with powder sugar and sprinkle with red-colored sugar in between each flower.
Enjoy with a cup of masala chai.
I used Deglet Noor dates. They're not as sweet as Medjool dates. I recommend not buying the pitted ones as they seem to have less flavor. You could also try other varieties of dates such as Amer Hajj dates (small in size with a hint of spiciness) or Empress (they have a distinctive yellow crown, a chewy texture and are a lot less sweet than the other kinds).
I used Jules Destrooper brand almond thins. I buy them at a local Safeway.
You can find kewra extract at Indian stores. It's sold in small 0.7-ounce bottles.
I usually add a little salt to most desserts; it brings out all the flavors and will enhance the taste of your sweets.
If you have extra mascarpone and a little leftover coffee from the morning, you can make my mother-in-law's favorite dessert, a tiramisu parfait.
If you want to make a savory version, you could omit the powdered sugar and wrap the dates in smoked salmon or smoked turkey.Published By: on October 15, 2010.