Living on an island of date palms, and having date palms in our garden, an almost endless supply of these sweet delicious morsels of fruit are available from one season to the next. In its simplest form dates are delicious just as they are, but quite heavenly when paired with different flavours and ingredients such as vanilla, citrus, chocolate, dairy products, nuts and certain spices. This super easy desert with dates and bananas soaked in fresh cream is not overly sweet, but enough to satisfy that sweet craving after a meal.
Nutmeg adds an aromatic sweetness and another dimension of flavour to this dessert and is best when freshly grated. I keep whole nutmeg stored in a special nutmeg mill and freshly grind when required. This desserts is best made two to three hours before serving, the flavours need to develop and the dates soak up some of the cream. The bananas do not discolor during this time, so no need to add any lemon juice. Use bananas that are firm with no brown spots on their skins. Fresh and dried dates can be used for this dessert but choose soft plump dates when buying dried ones.Serving the dessert in individual shooter glasses is a tasteful way of presenting the date and banana dessert and takes a little more time to assemble than making a larger one… that decision I will leave to you! If you decide to make the dessert in shooter glasses, then it is best to cut the bananas into small cubes and quarter the dates, gently mix together and spoon into each glass, rather than layering. A fabulous dessert, super easy to make and with the suggested variations below, a great stand-by recipe to have when entertaining in a hurry.
Date and Banana Dessert with Pecans
(Serves 6 or makes about 14 to 16 shooter glass servings)
- 450g dates, cut in half and remove the stone (cut into quarters for shooter glasses)
- 4 large firm bananas, peeled and sliced (cut into small cubes for shooter glasses)
- 1 teaspoon of home-made vanilla extract
- 300ml of fresh whipping cream or single cream
- nutmeg, freshly grated
- 50g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Try some of these variations:
- Replace the vanilla and flavour the cream with 2 teaspoons of rosewater OR 1/4 teaspoon of finely grated zest of orange
- Replace the pecans with walnuts OR un-salted pistachios
- Add about some grated dark chocolate between the layers of dates and bananas
- Instead of using nutmeg, lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
Tip: When making one larger dessert I like to place the cut sides of most of the dates facing upwards, so little pools of cream collect in the cavities of the dates as the cream filters through. Use about one tablespoon of cream for each shooter glass if making smaller desserts.
How to make: Fill a glass dessert bowl with alternate layers of dates and bananas. Or, if using shooter glasses, gently mix the dates and banana together and spoon into each glass. Mix the vanilla (if using) with the cream and slowly pour the cream over the entire surface of the dessert. Lightly grate some nutmeg over the top and scatter over the nuts. Cover the dessert and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before serving.