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Persian Date Candies – Lucy’s luscious Lovelies Collection

Yields20 ServingsPrep Time15 minsCook Time5 minsTotal Time20 mins

Persian cuisine is renowned in the Middle East, many dishes trace their roots to Persia with a beautiful blend of spices, herbs, fruits , nutes, seeds and distilled waters of herbs and flowers. This recipe brings together ingredients reminiscent of the region - dates, walnuts, sesame & niger seeds and rose water. Simple to prepare and easy to eat these candies sit well with fresh mint tea or rich turkish coffee.

 150 g walnut halves (1 ½ cups)
 2 tbsp sesame seed
 2 tsp niger seed
 100 g clarified butter or ghee – for vegan variety use vegan ghee
 1 tbsp rose water
 ½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)
 600 g pitted dates, roughly chopped (13 ½ cups)
 If liked substitute 1/3 of the dates with soaked dried figs

Preparation of mix

1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Line the base of an 18cm square tin with baking paper
3. Spread the walnuts on the tray and bake for 5 minutes
4. Chop roughly
5. Bake sesame seed on tray until golden
6. Bake niger seed for 2 minutes – no longer
7. Cool the nuts and seeds
8. Melt the smen in a heavy saucepan and cook the dates, covered over low for 10 minutes, stirring often until dates soften, add rose water
9. Add orange blossom water if desired.

For a Slice - makes 20 x 5 cm slices

1. Using the back of a spoon dipped in cold water
2. Spread half the dates over the base of the square tin
3. Scatter the walnuts on top and press into the dates
4. Spread the remaining dates over the walnut
5. Smooth with wet fingers and compress evenly
6. Sprinkle the sesame and niger seeds and press evenly into the dates
7. When cool remove the set mixture from the tin and cut into 5cm diamond shapes

For large marble sized bite balls - makes 40 2 balls

1. Cook dates or date/figs until very soft
2. Crush walnuts with rolling pin so finer mix
3. Mix the roasted sesame and niger seed together and put into shallow bowl
4. Mix the walnut/date mix and smen into firm paste
5. Depending on the types of dates you may need to reduce the volume of rose water
6. Take small portions of the mix and roll in ball – making sure hands are damp
7. Roll the balls in the sesame and niger seed mix
8. Set in freezer for 30 minutes – do not freeze solid.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 5cm

Servings 20