By Bonnie Saul Wilks, MJBI Staff Writer
If you have ever traveled to Israel, you will remember the myriad of date palm trees dotted across the arid landscape. The sweet, soft, and fresh dates these trees produce are nothing like the dried ones that you can find in a grocery store in the states. They are amazingly plump, rich, and delicious.
For over 5,000 years, Israel has produced delicious dates. In fact, the book of Exodus describes the small but mighty Middle Eastern land as “flowing with milk and honey.”
Some scholars believe the honey here was actually made from dates! Dates are also one of the Seven Species mentioned in the Bible.
Desserts for Passover can be tricky because no “chametz” or yeast can be eaten for a week. This Israeli dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth! They are called “Tamarim” Truffles or Date Truffles.
You will need a processor and cookie sheets to make them, and they come together so quickly! You may add orange or lemon essential oil and zest to make them citrusy. Orange blossom water may be used as well.
1 cup pitted dates
¾ cup almond slivers
1 ½ cup shredded coconut
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or a drop or two of orange essential oil (edible kind only like Young Living – please read labels carefully)
1 tablespoon date honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon orange zest
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of cloves
Scant pinch of salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. For toasting coconut, spread ¾ cup of the shredded coconut on a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Bake for 4 minutes or so, stirring often until it is golden brown. Remove from oven and pour into your food processor. Pulse for 20 seconds. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Place all ingredients in the processor and pulse until mixture becomes malleable like a thick paste. Should not be liquid but have texture. Roll the paste into 1-inch spheres and then roll in the toasted coconut to cover. Serve immediately with spicy Chai tea. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.
Happy baking and “chag sameach!”