Monday, January 5, 2015

Dates on the Half Shell

Dates on the Halfshell, Two Ways

Yesterday I was t the Hillcrest farmers market; one of San Diego's biggest, busiest and best farmers markets. While there are numerous vegan options, including lots of delicious prepared foods, I was on the hunt for some fresh raw ingredients. I was not disappointed. After walking around and enjoying a slightly sweet and super sour passion fruit, I came across some organic medjool dates that were so large and luscious looking, and that the gentleman at the stand guaranteed me had been picked fresh from the tree that morning. A few stands down we ran into a farm that sells some of the most amazing and succulent looking berries you've ever seen. I then proceeded to snatch up some citrus (Myer lemons, limes and blood orange).
A dear friend, who just so happens to also be a vegan chef, was visiting from New York, so we whipped up an amazing and eclectic dinner from our market finds. When it came for dessert, I knew I would be using the dates to make something simple, but elegant, and out of this world delicious. And these dates did not disappoint. When an accomplished chef who has eaten their way around the world tells you "this is one of the best tasting things I have ever had" you know you are on to a recipe that you just have to share. This is a quick and easy recipe to prepare, and is a decadent and satisfying snack for those with even the most hardcore and discerning of sweet tooth's.


Dates on the HalfShell, two ways

Makes approximately two dozen pieces.

1/2 pound medjool dates
Pit and halve the dates, move to a plate or baking sheet and place in the refrigerator while you prepare your fillings.

Chocolate Ginger Ganache filling

1/3 cup Cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, liquefied
1/4 cup ginger syrup (I happened to have a ginger flavored syrup on hand, but  you can make your own with some agave or coconut nectar and a teaspoon of grated ginger)
pinch orange zest
pinch salt

Whisk/stir all ingredients together, adding coconut oil last, in a mixing bowl. Fill half of the dates with the chocolate ganache using a spoon, pastry bag, squeeze bottle, etc. Do so immediately before the coconut oil re-solidifies and your chocolate sauce hardens in the bowl. On the other hand, you do want it to harden in side the date, which is achieved by keeping the dates cold in the refrigerator. When the coconut oil in the gancache comes in contact, it should solidify perfectly for you.

For the Candied Raspberries

A handful of fresh raspberries
a squeeze of ginger syrup
a few pinches of coconut sugar crystals

Add 2 or 3 candied raspberries atop each date, then garnish with coconut flakes and a little more drizzle of ganache on top



Sweet Sesame filling

1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 T cinnamon
pinch salt

Mix ingredients in a mixing bowl with a fork until thoroughly combined. Fill the remaining half of the dates with sweet sesame sauce, then garnish with two or three bits of blood orange, coconut flakes and chia seeds.

Find a friend and enjoy!

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