Mmm. Dried fruit and liquor pair quite nicely.
It’s kind of funny that as I’m writing these date columns I’m watching the snow fall outside my window. Because as you’ll see in a few sentences, when I wrote this recipe originally it was February and snowy. However, I am writing this update in April. Apparently winter hasn’t gotten the message that it’s spring. Nope, it’s chilly with some snow flurries. Tonight would be a perfect night for some brandy, or brandied dates as it may be. I may need to change the evening’s menu!
To learn more about this recipe originally posted in February 2014, keep reading.
Ten days into February, we’re still deep in winter here in New Hampshire. With an inch of snow last night and temperatures forecast for the twenties all week long, signs of spring are far away. At this time in winter, I begin to feel the impact of winter in more ways than just the weather. One of those areas is food. Seasonal produce is hard to find, especially fruits. One way that we substitute for the lack of local fruit is by using dried fruits more often.
Yesterday we planned a light dinner of cheese and crackers and veggies and dip. With an assortment of cheeses in our refrigerator, it was the perfect meal, especially as no one was overly hungry. Three different types of crackers and three different types of cheese provided a nice assortment of pairing options. Of course, a little more assortment is always good. Flavored mustard is an easy choice, but for something that adds texture, I like to use a compote or other fruit topping.
Many times I have used blueberries that we picked and froze in the previous summer, but last night I wanted something different. With a full package of dates, I figured that I could make a new and different topping. Dates are quite sweet on their own, so I knew that no sugar needed to be added; they simply needed some hydration. I opted for brandy, as it would give the dates a little extra flavor. I opted to flame the brandy to remove more of the alcohol. If you prefer more of a kick, the flaming is optional.
- 8 dates
- 1/4 cup brandy
- If the dates haven’t been pitted, slice in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Then chop dates into a small dice. Place dates in a small saucepot.
- Add brandy and bring to a boil over low heat. If flaming, remove pot from heat (and turn off burner if using a gas stove).
- Place match or lighter just above the liquid; it should light quickly. Once flames have extinguished, return pot to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. If liquid dissipates, add a little water.
- Serve as a topping with cheese and crackers. It is sweet enough that it could make a fine topping for angel food or pound cake. Please leave a comment if you try them in that manner.