Have you ever wanted something sinfully sweet, but don’t want to eat sugar, chocolate, cake or ice cream? Then dates might just be for you….
This gorgeous and very simple recipe for a New Year canapé is so simple, and guests will never believe it’s all made from good for you food. If you don’t tell them what it is, some of them will think it’s some juicy delicacy they’ve never heard of. For me, it’s a raw food canapé and these look awesome on a tray, far better than my image.
Raw Food Canapé
- Medjool Dates - 1 Per Canapé
- Soft Cheese, or Whipped Cream, or Whipped Quark, or even Creme Fraiché.
- Dried Mango - Unsweetened
- Dessicated Coconut, or Fresh Grated Coconut
- Simple slice along the top of the dates, and remove the stone pit. If there's a slight hard crust at the end, slice that off, and open the date out.
- Simply pop in a tiny spoon of soft cheese, and sprinkle a few strands of dessicated coconut on top.
- Slice your dried mango in little strips and place on top for decoration.
Dates, like Figs, are a relatively new fruit to me. I once saw a neighbour eating them, and I physically felt a little queasy. For my whole life, I’ve imagined dates as tasting like prunes, and I really cannot stand prunes…. Not in the slightest…. Uh uh, never…. Am I clear about that??????
I know we tend to think of them as just a Christmassy thing, but going forward, they’re going to be a big part of my diet, to fulfill days when I have a sweet tooth.
I’ve only really tried the Medjool variety so far, and although I would try other versions, I’ve learned through experience, to stick to what I actually like.
Medjool dates are nice and plump, with an outer skin and rich softer flesh inside. I think they are said to be more juicy than other drier versions of dates. I suspect that’s one reason that I’ve been put off trying other varieties.
When they ripen, they turn from a reddish yellow, to a deep brown, with a gorgeous caramel taste. A bit like nature’s natural sweets. If you’re never tried them, you might just find yourself a new healthy sweet.
Here’s the lowdown:
Goodness For Our Bodies
Packed with fibre and potassium as a healthy treat, there’s also some calcium, magnesium and copper in there. So as well as being tasty, they’re also good for our bones. We sure can’t say that for sugary sweets.
As a diabetic, finding sweet treats that aren’t high in sugar or carbs is quite difficult if I’m to keep away from polyols as much as possible, and dates fills one of those voids. Yes, it’s sweet, so contains natural sugar, but they are also filled with fibre, so help keep us from feeling those carb cravings too quickly afterwards.
It’s One Of Our 5 A Day
Yes, it is. It’s fruit. I don’t think I can say any more about that, as we all know we need to get our fruit and veg in somehow. Around 3 dates will count as one of our five a day. And at around 90-95 calories for three dates, they’re also quite filling.
How To Eat Dates
The easiest way is to just eat them like a sweet, but remember to remove the stone inside as you bite into it. The pit is easy to remove and is hard to miss, as they’re usually quite big. Some people cut off the top, remove the pit and put other things inside, like nuts, chocolate, soft cheese and more etc.
Cooking With Dates
I think I’ll be making some desserts with dates as a base. I have made cheesecake base with dates, but strangely, I never actually attributed the sweet taste to the dates that I mixed with crushed nuts. I wish I’d discovered this little treat years ago. A caramel sauce will be one of my first attempts, hopefully to go with some treat ice cream for the kids, and not let on that it isn’t sugary caramel. I can dream….
I think I’ve mentioned plenty of times on the blog, that we have a plot where the man grows quite a lot of our own during the fairer months. I very much doubt dates will grow in the UK, but hey, anything is worth a try, and if I can get him to make me a space in the polytunnel, I’ll give it a go next year. From what I’ve read, cutting the tapered bit from a few cola bottles and planting a pit just under the compost at the top is the best option, but if it does indeed take about 20 years to grow a tree, I might be better off to just try it at home, or buy a plant from a local nursery, but I don’t hold out much hope of it surviving for long in winter. It might be a bit of a pointless experiment….