Use walnut stuffed dates as a dessert or appetizer this Holiday Season
Throughout the holidays many people find themselves looking for the perfect balance in both life and food. Many health conscious individuals are looking for ways to keep their holiday treats that are healthy and nutritious, while still wanting to honor rich holiday traditions.
This is an old recipe of two ingredients, walnuts and dates. This time honored recipe may possibly be the perfectly balanced holiday dish, combining the elements of richness and health into a delicious treat for you and your clients.
In France in the 1700’s, the wealthiest citizens would indulge themselves with rich sugary foods. This was a sign of enormous wealth, and many people wanted to display themselves thusly. After meals that were rich in meats and fat (and contained very few vegetables), the wealthy would often finish with delicate sugary treats—cakes, tarts, cookies, puddings, and many other kinds of sweet confections. The French aristocracy was known for having blackened teeth from all the sugar that they ate.
One such confection was nougat. Nougat is actually a variety of confectioneries made with sugar or honey and roasted nuts—almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and recently macadamia nuts are common. The consistency of nougat can range from soft and chewy to hard and crunchy depending on its composition. The most popular kind of nougat at the time was white nougat—which appeared in Cremona, Italy in the early 15th century and later in Montélimar, France, in the 18th century— which is made with beaten egg whites and honey.
The poor French farmers couldn’t afford refined sugars to make nougat or any other kind of confection. The farmers lived off of the food they grew, and they often grew walnuts—a staple in many of their meals. When they could not grow the foods they needed, they would trade for them in local markets. One of the fruits they traded for were dates from Tunisia, likely because of their long shelf life.
Whether by ingenuity or accident, the poor French farmers in the 1700’s discovered the “poor man’s nougat,” also known as a walnut stuffed date. The two ingredients, two second treat:
Slice the date in the center, and remove the pit.
Stuff a walnut inside the opening or pocket.
Farmers would often eat these nougat-like treats that are filled with nutrients and antioxidants that protect your heart. Unlike the empty sugar calories in candies that cause inflammation, the route of many diseases.
Today, the sign of wealth is how healthy you are, and the more healthy option is the date stuffed with walnut nougat versus that which is made with refined sugar. The great part is, the poor man’s nougat is delicious, and is much healthier than the original confection. So this holiday season when your clients begin planning their holiday meals, suggest adding date stuffed with walnuts to the list. The rich delicious flavor will surprise and please anyone who decides to try it.
For more information on California date nutrition see our nutrition facts.