Tag Archives: dates

Pineapple Date Bars

pineapple date bar
Oi… enough with depressing food news!

One of the tricks of finding recipes that actually taste good, is to take a risk every now and then. Granted, mixing pineapple and dates doesn’t really constitute much of a “risk”, but I’ll take my excitement where I can get it.

The trick here was finding a recipe which did not detract from the taste of the dates. Adding pineapple seems to have done the trick.

Added bonus? Your kitchen will smell wonderful for hours after these bars are wrapped and stored.

  • 1 lb. chopped dates, pitted
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Rolled quick oats, (not instant)
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter (chilled and diced) or margarine

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add date and pineapples (juice and all). Cook until dates are soft, and mix both dates and pineapples together. Mix in vanilla. Set aside and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and salt. Work in butter until pastry is crumbly.

Spread half the mixture in bottom of a greased 9″ pan and pat down. Cover with date filling. Spread remaining mixture on top.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Cut into squares while still warm and cool in pan before serving.

Serves 6-8

Date Tips

No no. This is not a post on how to find your soulmate while traversing the world of dating. This is simply a post about the fruit. Y’all can calm down now.

  • - Choose dates with a shiny skin. Avoid very shriveled dates, or dates with sugar crystals on the skin.
  • - Dried dates should be firm, but not hard.
  • - Avoid dried dates that are excessively syrupy.
  • - 1 lb. of unpitted dates will convert to about 2 1/2 cups of pitted and chopped dates
  • - Dried dates can be stored, wrapped, at room temperature for 6 months, give or take a couple of weeks.
  • - Dried dates will keep for up to a year, refrigerated.
  • - To seperate dried dates stuck together, you can microwave at medium power for 30 – 60 seconds. Cool for one minute before seperating.
  • - You can also flour the dates to seperate quickly.
  • - If chopping dates, use a pair of scissors in place of a knife. You’ll have better control and the dates clump less on scissors.
  • - To make date sugar, arrange sliced dates on a baking sheet and bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very dry and hard as rocks. Grind or process in a food processor to make sugar.

Date Pie

Date Pie

This is a very sweet pie…dates, corn syrup, brown sugar, how can it not be. You’ll like this pie if you’re a fan of pecan pie and others in the similar vein. Whipped cream is a good idea if you need some contrast in consistency.

  • 9″ pie crust
  • 4 eggs, large
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch o’ salt
  • 1 lb medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped wlanuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Form the pie crust into a 9″ pie pan. Line the pie crust with aluminum foil, and weigh down with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Lower heat of oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together the eggs and brown sugar, ensuring that sugar is well incorporated. Add butter, corn syrup, vanilla and salt. Beat together well.

Place 1/2 lb of dates into pie crust. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of walnuts on top of the dates. Add the rest of the dates to the pie crust, ensuring that the dates are evenly dustributed. Top with almonds. Pour sugar mixture slowly over dates until the dates are nearly all covered.

Place pie into 350 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pie 180 degrees , ensuring that the pie is thoroughly baked. Remove from oven and place in refrigerator for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. The pie should solidify in the cooler temperatures.

Serves 8

About Dates

I never gave dates a great deal of thought.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve admitted to my sin. It was wrong of me to never consider this dried fruit. My mind was on other food products: food products I loved, food products I hated. I never gave the date its due consideration.

Part of the reason is that I never really ate dates on a regular basis. So, out of sight, out of mind, as the cliche goes. The times that I was able to have dates, they were bland tasteless articles shoved into plastic containers and placed on shelves in the supermarket, where they would sit for weeks, if not months.

Now, after tasting a non-packaged date, I think I have seen the light. I did a taste test between a “Dole” date and one purchased at a fruit counter at Pike Place Market. The difference is notable, for reasons that I have yet to understand. How can a dried fruit, from the same part of the country, taste so vastly different? Packaging is the only hypothesis that I can come up with.

Dates have been around since before 4,000 BC. There is evidence of cultivation in eastern Arabia around that time period. That’s a full 1000 years before the Egyptians started making a name for themselves.

There are more than 600 varieties, including cultivars, grown world-wide and different countries. Each varieties have different colors, flavors, sweetness, acidity and textures. Some are best eaten by themselves, others are used to make sugar and syrups, others are unpalatable to humans. Some of the more popular varieties include Deglet Noor, Halawy, Howaiz, Naghal and Jaberi Fardh. California (who had Dates introduced to their region by the Spaniards, who in turn, were introduced to dates by the moors) produces a variety called Deglet Noor, a semi-dry date possessing a delicate favour, and is firm-textured in appearance, with a color range from light red to amber or straw .I’ve been told Deglet Noor makes up 90% of California’s date production.

However, there is a variety considered the “Cadillac” of dates, called the “Medjool” date. I am itching to try this out as well.

There’s a strong reason why dates are as popular as they are. First and foremost, when dried properly, they can last for a year or more. Spoilage is not really an issue. In the thousands of years prior to refrigeration, this was a big deal. As a food that is tasty as well as lasting for a year or so, there was much demand for this fruit. From there, simple economics took over and the date became the fruit tree to have in your neighborhood back in the day. In ancient times, date trees could be found from what is now Pakistan all the way to present-day Morocco. No small feat for a fruit tree.

Aside being tasty, the trees produce an inordinate amount of fruit. Although it takes a while for the date palms to become mature enough to start producing fruit, once they reach maturity they can yield between 132 to 176 lbs of dates in a year, every year for the lifetime of the tree (which can be as long as 100 years or more). If you have a pollinated date tree on your property, you’ll probably never go hungry…although you may get sick of dates.

Hopefully, it will never come to that for myself. The trick will be to eat dates, but in moderation. Say, 12 lbs a year.

Yeah, I think I can handle that.

Tasting Notes: Dried Dates

More in the ongoing series. Use this post as you see fit.

I’ve been trying to put words to the taste of dates, when it finally hit me while driving to work this morning. I purchased these dates at Pike Place Market the other day.

My own notes:

Look: Amber brown nuggets, dried but only slight shriveled.

Mouthfeel: The skin is tacky, and quickly gives way to a thick, stringy paste of sugar. There’s a slight crunch of the crystalized sugars, but you almost have to search them out. Chewy, but not overly so.

Taste: Dates taste like very light brown sugar, rich, with a subtle taste of carmel.