Creating a blog was out of the question for a long time for me, as measuring everything in the kitchen was like biting into an eggshell. I enjoy cooking and don’t want to waste even a slightest bit of enjoyment in that small world of mine. But little did I know that everything will change, when my husband came home with the Oscar nominated film ‘Julie and Julia’( a real life story) where Julie Powell (part played by Amy Adams) challenged herself to make all the 524 recipes from Julia Child's cook book ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and blogging all her experiences (The Julie/Julia Project). It was an inspiring movie. A few days later when we were discussing this casually with a friend of ours over tea…everything changed dramatically…..” How about you making at least half of it in one year? Not French but your own. 262 recipes that will inspire others and present it as a blog?” For a minute my mind traveled faster than light… With an experience as a helper in my mother in laws kitchen for 6 years followed by a three year everyday struggle to satisfy the palate of my foodie husband, if I cannot do it then why should I cook? But on the other side with an experience in English literature extending no more than expanding outline stories in English grammar class when I was 18 and two small kids that come in handy at times, will a commitment for the next one year work? Anyway my ‘cook's ego’ didn’t allow me to say no...

So my friends …here I am opening my recipe book, trying to perfect and present 262 recipes in the coming 365 days….A Challenge that will of course tastes good. Come.. Have a walk with me along my journey.. Cheering and inspiring….Forgiving and tolerating…Testing and tasting….for ‘A Tasty Challenge’

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Date and Nut Pastry

Recipe No: 242
I consider this as a cookie, but the way the dough is made closely resembles a pastry and hence the name. The Rose Essence in the recipe is what makes this so special and I have to say that this is one good cookie to eat with a glass of Black Coffee after a heavy dinner. With the tempting taste of Dates and Pistachios together with the lightly sweetened rose flavored pastry makes it a… well... in this case… you have to eat it to get what I am trying to describe...
Ingredients                                            Makes 18
To make the Pastry dough
  • All Purpose Flour/ Maida……1 Cup
  • Cold Butter…………………….….6 Tablespoons (unsweetened; cubed)
  • Sugar……………………………..…1/4 Cup
  • Baking Soda…………………….…1/8 Teaspoon
  • Salt……………………………….…..a pinch (Avoid if you are using salted Butter)
  • Rose Essence…………………..….1/3 Teaspoon (optional)
  • Cold Water…………………………3-4 Tablespoons
For the filling
  • Dates Chopped…………………..1 Cup
  • Water………………………….……1/4 Cup
  • Sugar……………………...……….3 Tablespoons
  • Toasted Pistachios……………..1/4 Cup (chopped)
Method of Preparation
To make the Covering/ Pastry
  1. In a Food Processor pulse together Flour, Sugar, Salt, Baking Soda, Rose Essence and Butter (cubed) for a few times till the Flour resembles wet sand or bread crumbs. (Don’t make it very fine; there should be small pieces of Butter left in the Flour.) Alternatively you can mix Butter into the Flour using your fingertips just like you would moisten the Flour for Puttu.
  2. Add 3-4 tablespoons of Water into the mixture to make a very crumbly dough. (At this stage the Flour will stick together if pressed but very crumbly.)
  3. Dump the dough onto a floured board/ work surface and pat all the dough mixture together into one mass; cover with a plastic or Aluminum foil and keep in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or till the filling is ready.
To make the Filling
  1. Heat chopped Dates, Sugar and Water or medium heat till the Sugar is melted and the Water is absorbed. Don’t make it too dry as this mixture will continue to tighten up as it cools.
  2. Mix in the chopped toasted Pistachios and let the mixture cool down thoroughly before filling the pastry.
To make and bake the Dates filled Pastry
  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F/ 163˚C.
  2. Roll out the pastry into 1/8 inch thickness and with a round cookie cutter (use a lid of some bottle if you don’t have a cutter) make 18, 2 ½ inch circles.
  3. Divide the filling between these 18 round pastries taking care to place them in the lower half of the Pastry rounds.
  4. Take the rounds with the filling in your palms, and fold the pastry over the filling to cover it, by slightly pushing the filling inside and letting the tips of the dough touch each other. Seal the ends properly by pressing so that the filling is secure inside.
  5. Place it on a baking tray and continue with the rest.
  6. Bake the filled Pastry in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes. (The pastry should be slightly crispy, but not brown.)
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature with a glass of Black Coffee or Green Tea as a snack or as a dessert after dinner.
Notes:
  • While mixing Butter into the Flour, there should be small pieces of Butter left and don’t knead this dough too much as it will melt the Butter. Just pat the dough together and roll it out with a rolling pin. In a hot oven the small pieces of Butter will melt creating steam that will help the dough rise making it flaky, which is very essential for these type of pastries.
  • Apply Flour on the board/ work surface and the rolling pin to avoid the dough from sticking.
  • You can make this pastry without Rose Essence, but its addition gives a very special taste.
  • If in case the Date mixture is too tight when cold, do add a tablespoon or two of Water and heat again to loosen. Don’t make it very wet or it will be make the pastry  soggy when cooked.
  • Even though I used Pistachio, you can substitute it with  Almonds or Cashews (Don't use Peanuts) depending on the availability.
  • Let the Date mixture cool completely before filling the Pastry or the heat from the filling will melt the Butter in the pastry.
  • The size of the pastry rounds shouldn't have to be 2 1/2 inches; make it as big or as small as you want.
  • There is no need to use Water or any sticking agent to seal the pastry, as the pastry dough is sticky and will stick together just by pressing.
  • The low temperature setting of the oven will crisp up the pastry without browning  it too much.
  • Store the leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate.
 





Make it, enjoy the deliciousness and 
serve it to your family with love…

7 comments:

sojo said...

hmmmmm... me a fruit and nut lover.... pastry lover too... cookie lover...O yes!!! Asha's blog lover? O yes 100 percent....

LR said...

interesting recipe!!!

Asha said...

Sojo.. you are soo nice... Your comments always makes me laugh..

Kalpana Sareesh said...

love the filling too much...

Priya said...

Wow they looks soo marvellous..Love that filling..

Now Serving said...

what I'd give for a couple of those right now! simply L-O-V-E the filling!!!

appuran said...

am gonna try this .. u r such an innovative cook

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