Walnut Stuffed Chocolate Dates
I stood still, taking in the pleasure of a clean kitchen. An exceedingly clean kitchen. It happens once a year for Passover and doesn't last for more than a few minutes. But those moments are glorious and worth the involved effort. Inevitably, there's a toddler who walks in armed with a bagful of something crumbly to disrupt the neat environs of my kitchen. Yes, mine, even though I would say it's where we all spend much of our time. It's the center of our open living space and the place that attracts the little ones in the hope of finding a treat. For me, it's the place I find myself in part by responsibility, and it part for the joy of turning ingredients into foods that give pleasure. Being in a quiet kitchen with a long list of promising recipes, involved in the task of cooking, is something I look forward to, and with Passover really soon, it's what I will be doing most.
I have a vague plan of what to cook, not much of a timetable, but it will get done. In general, I'm not one to plan out detailed lists with every minutiae penciled in, but I would say I'm capable enough to put together a lovely holiday. It's our first Passover in Jerusalem which made the preparations more involved, yet the experience of the city buzzing around, with most everyone engaged in the same goal sweetened the efforts. In terms of cooking utensils, I kept things as minimal as possible. My view of cooking for passover isn't to substitute ingredients and mimic regular foods. I embrace the restriction and focus on cooking fresh, simple, real food. Yes, I'll admit my passover looks a lot different than most, since our customs originate from our family's Sephardic roots. I don't have memories of brisket and matzah ball soup. I have memories of myself hunched over the kitchen table, peeling heaps of fava beans for marak keves im ful, a fava bean soup with lamb my mother makes every year. I can't tell you much about it, I don't eat lamb, but the association is there. You should call her the recipes, I hear it's the best. I, on the other hand, am thinking along the lines of something stuffed, like this. But of course, I already got started with dessert. A date stuffed with walnuts is something you'll often see me serving after a Shabbat meal. The natural sweetness from the date against the robust nuttiness of the walnut makes an intensely satisfying end to a heavy meal. I thought wrapping things up in chocolate was a worthwhile improvement because of course, chocolate. Those tiny flakes of salt pop within each bite for an unexpected, welcome twist. That's why I love flaky salt. I wouldn't recommend you skip it. It comes together with minimal effort, and is something I think we can all share in, which makes it sweeter.
A happy Passover to you.
Walnut Stuffed Chocolate Dates
12-14 medjool dates, pitted
100g dark chocolate
1-2 teaspoon coconut oil
If your walnuts are not roasted, preheat oven to 425F. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and spray with cooking spray. Generously sprinkle sea salt and roast for 6-7 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. In a double boiler or a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate with the coconut oil. Stir gently until the chocolate has fully tempered. If the mixture is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water to dilute. Remove from the fire. Working in batches, stuff the dates with walnuts and toss in the chocolate until fully coated. Transfer to the baking sheet and sprinkle a few flakes of Maldon salt. Once you've repeated the process with all the dates, transfer to the freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes. You can store them in the fridge for up to a week or keep them in the freezer for up to 1 month. They won't last that long.