Date and Walnut Squares
A "ten" for these squares, just for the taste. It was shared and taught to me by my favourite neighbour and aunt while I was living in Dubai. I still recall hers always prepared in a fluted thin rectangle tart pan, neatly cut and ready to serve us with a fresh cup of Parsi choi-tea. Some lovely food memories I often yearn for.
Dates are nutritious and sweeter than sugar. Walnuts are good for the brain, and the cream cheese works as the secret ingredient in these delicious gooey bites of goodness.
It is one of those easy-to-prepare recipes. It stores well and keeps fresh for a number of days. A perfect snack for the whole family. It is perfect for bite-sized sharing.
Makes 24 pieces
Preheat the oven to 190 °C | 375 °F
Line a 33 x 22 cm or 13 x 9-inch rectangle pan with parchment paper
1 cup salted butter - divided
1 cup cream cheese
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold water
2 eggs -separated
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
To make the pastry base
Cream together with an electric mixer
Half the salted butter and cream cheese. Stir in the flour and cold water just enough to hold the entire batter together.
Chill it for an hour before rolling it out on the base of the pan.
For the topping
Mix with an electric mixer
Half of the salted butter and the egg yolks. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Mix in the dates and walnuts.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold these into the topping mixture. Spread it evenly across the pastry.
Bake for 20–25 minutes.
This is a two-part recipe. Make the base or the pastry first. Chill the base well before adding the topping.
The cheese and butter are easier to beat when at room temperature.
This can be prepared in two 35 x 10 cm or 14 x 4 inch loose-bottomed fluted rectangle tart pans. If you wish, dress them with icing sugar once they have cooled.
My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.
The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022.
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.
Niloufer's Kitchen: Winter http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G2US0EK
Photo credit Sheriar Hirjikaka