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Medjool Dates with Orange Almond Paste

(recipe, Deborah Madison)

Introduction

Medjool dates make a big, plump mouthful. To make them extra festive, chop a few pieces of candied orange peel into small pieces and sprinkle them over the orange almond paste along with finely chopped pistachio nuts.

Ingredients

  1. 5 to 8 oz. almond paste or marzipan
  2. Grated zest of 2 oranges
  3. 1 tsp. orange-flower water
  4. 1 drop orange food coloring
  5. 12 Medjool dates
  6. Candied orange peel, chopped, and pistachio nuts, chopped (optional)

Steps

  1. Knead the almond paste with the zest, flower water, and food coloring. (You can also mix them together in a food processor.) Make any other additions, such as more orange-flower water or coloring, gradually and carefully; the flavors will deepen as the paste ripens.
  2. Slit open the dates and remove the pits. Roll a marble of orange-almond paste between your palms, shape it into a lozenge, and insert it into a date. Repeat until all the dates are filled. Close the date sides neatly around the paste lozenges, leaving a wide ribbon exposed.
  3. If using the peel and/or nuts, sprinkle them over the ribbons of paste and press into the dates.