This dessert can be made with several dried fruits, such as prunes, dates or apricots. It is ideal when you are planning a get-together and want to have everything done ahead of time; it will last a few days in the fridge without any problem. The semolina cream does not contain eggs or butter, so it is lighter than, say, a pastry cream. This is a bite-sized dessert, so no fear that people will turn it down, as one bite is not likely to blow anyone’s diet.
The semolina cream is made using fine grade semolina; the rule of thumb is 1/4 semolina to 3/4 milk. So if you are using 2 cups of milk, then 1/2 cup of semolina should be enough to thicken the milk.
If you’d like some ideas to stuff apricots, check this post (I stuffed fresh ones with marshmallow) or this one. (stuffed with ashta). I have also stuffed dried apricots with a savory cheese filling here.
Dates with semolina creamJoumana Accad Mediterranean, Middle Eastern July 3, 2022 Dessert, dried apricots, dates, semolina cream, middleeasternsweet, driedfruit, snack, fruitdessert,
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Passive Time: 24 hours
1/2 lb Dates or Prunes or Dried Apricots (or less or more)
2 cups whole milk (organic if possible)
1/2 cup semolina flour (fine)
1/2 tsp mastic crystals crushed in a mortar with 1 tsp sugar till powdery
1/2 cup sugar (divided)
2 Tbsp powdered pistachios (to garnish; see note)
2 cups water or enough to barely cover the fruits
- Place the fruit in a saucepan and add enough water to barely cover it. Bring to a small simmer, cover and turn off the heat. Let it soak in its juice overnight in the fridge or for longer (several days even)
- Prepare the semolina sauce when ready to stuff the fruit: Place milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium/low heat, adding the semolina in a stream gradually while stirring continuously and add a couple tablespoons of sugar. When the liquid starts thickening, add the flavorings such as the mastic (ground-up into a powder with sugar), or the orange blossom water or vanilla. Transfer the resulting cream to a bowl and cover the surface with some plastic wrap. Cool and store in the fridge where it will keep for several days.
- If using dates, open each date and remove the pit, checking the inside flesh to make sure it is clean. Set them aside to be stuffed. Collect the date juice and reduce it in a small saucepan with the remaining sugar until slightly thickened.
- If using apricots, drain them. Collect the juice and add the sugar and reduce it in a saucepan till slightly thickened. The same step apply to the dried prunes.
- To stuff them, split them with the blade of a knife, removing the pit (if they still have their pit); use a small spoon or a decorating bag to pipe the semolina cream inside. Place on a pretty plate, spoon some of the syrup throughout and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve immediately or cover and serve the next day or later.
To garnish with pistachios, I personally cannot stand to use pistachios that have not been peeled. Peeling them is a tedious job, but am willing to do it to see that beautiful green color of the pistachio finally shining through.
To peel: Soak about 1/2 cup (or more) of the pistachios in 1 cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Five minutes should suffice, but they can be soaked for ten. Drain and start peeling them one by one. Place the peeled pistachios on a plate and dry them in the microwave for a minute or so. You can also dry them in the oven, but beware that they may turn light brown if left in the oven too long. The oven should be at about 225F and 10 minutes should suffice.
Place the peeled and dry pistachios in the bowl of a food processor, add a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar and pulse several times until the pistachios are chopped extra fine or get powdery. Transfer to a plastic container, seal and keep in the fridge as needed.
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