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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.


  1. 7 to 8 oz. almond paste or marzipan
  2. A few drops of beet juice or red food coloring
  3. I teaspoons rose water
  4. 12 to 15 black dates or Deglet Noors
  5. Unsalted pistachio nuts, finely chopped, plus a few whole nuts


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.