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Black Dates with Rose Almond Paste
(recipe, Deborah Madison)
Large, luscious, and dramatic looking, black dates set off all colors well, but the combination of pink almond paste and a dusting of green against the shiny black is especially pretty. A good thing, because black dates are now harder to find than they once were.
- 7 to 8 oz. almond paste or marzipan
- A few drops of beet juice or red food coloring
- I teaspoons rose water
- 12 to 15 black dates or Deglet Noors
- Unsalted pistachio nuts, finely chopped, plus a few whole nuts
- Knead the almond paste with the beet juice or food coloring until it is as pink as you wish, then work in the rose water to taste.
- Carefully slit the dates lengthwise and remove the pits. Roll a piece of rose-almond paste between your palms to give it a lozenge shape and insert it into the date. Repeat until all the dates are filled. Close the date sides neatly around the paste lozenges, leaving a wide ribbon exposed.
- To strengthen the rose flavor, brush a little rose water on the surface of each date. Gently press the paste sides of the dates into a small mound of the pistachio nuts, or decorate with a single bright green pistachio.