A naturally sweet spread that awaits its salty partner.
I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe. The final product is spreadable. It also is made with fruit. Both of these led me to wonder, Is this a jam, conserves, preserves? The answer, I believe, is none of the above. All three of these require cooking, which my recipe didn’t need. In an effort not to offend people who are particular about words (such as myself), I’m going with the safest route and calling it simply a spread.
Although for me the name is far less important than the final product. We always have medjool dates in our refrigerator. I’d been tinkering with the idea of making a puff pastry pinwheel filled with chopped dates and cheese for a while. However, when I decided to start testing recipes, I really didn’t want all of the calories of puff pastry. Yes, it’s a yummy treat, but I wanted to make something healthier that still fulfilled my salty and sweet craving.
I decided that I would use lavash bread as the base and build from there. Simply dicing dates wouldn’t work well there, unless I put lots of cheese on the lavash to make the dates stick. That would defeat my idea of healthy eating. However, if could transform the dates from a solid to something spreadable, I might have a healthier option for the sweet portion of the dish.
While my dates were soaking in some hot water, I decided to do a little online browsing. Imagine my surprise that my date spread is all the rage with paleo cooking. There it is called date paste, and it’s crazy popular. People use it in place of sweetener in all of their cooking. Who knew? Obviously not me.
Since there are a gazillion recipes for it, I was able to check on the lifespan of this spread. Most people seem to think three months. Having only made mine a couple weeks ago, I can’t confirm that yet. I am hopeful that it does last that long, as it is very sweet, so you don’t need very much.
For my first serving, I toasted the lavash, topped it with a small amount of date spread and a sprinkle of sharp cheddar. Place it under the broiler for 30 seconds, and you’ve got delightfully melty cheese. It was delicious- crunchy, salty, sweet. Total happiness for me! I haven’t used it in baking, and I’m not sure that I will. If I do, I’ll be sure to leave a note in the comments. If you find different ways to use the date spread, please leave a comment as well.
- 1 cup dates, pitted (about 10-12)*
- 1/2 cup hot water
- Place dates in a small, narrow bowl and top with hot water. (I used a measuring cup so that the dates would be fully submerged.)
- Allow to soak for 30 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a Magic Bullet or food processor.
- Blend in 5-10 second increments, stirring in between to incorporate all dates.
- Transfer to storage container, and refrigerate for an hour before serving.
- When measuring dates, be sure to pack firmly.