Easy Date and Nut Tarts with Fresh Berries

If you love dates and nuts then this is a perfect recipe for you (and me) and a different slant on how you might enjoy this delicious combination. These sweet tarts are a delight to make and perfect sweet treats for family and friends… especially as Eid Al Adha is almost upon us. The base is easy to make and once you process the dates and nuts, all you need do is, roll the mixture out on a lightly floured work surface and line the tins, no resting or chilling needed. The delicious creamy filling is also a breeze to make.

Although the recipe makes four small tarts, I prefer making them canapé sized. Sarah, the author of the cookbook (mentioned below) suggests baking the bases to firm them up and bring out the nutty flavors. I too would recommend this step (she also suggests you can skip this step) as I felt the bases would have been too soft (if left raw) when removing from the tins… especially the larger tarts. Only used almonds nuts with the recipe but you can use a mixture of other nuts too, hazelnuts, cashew nuts and I guess pistachio nuts would also be perfect.

I filled the tarts with a thick greek yoghurt flavored with lemon zest and vanilla extract, then topped them with fresh blueberries, pomegranate seeds and a light dusting of icing sugar before serving. Or, use the original recipe filling below and choose other fruit toppings. Either way this is a lovely recipe for entertaining. You also might also like to try Sarah’s luscious chocolate date cake with tahini and white chocolate which I shared in an earlier post. And for those celebrating, wishing you all a peaceful and happy Eid with family and friends.

Date and Berry Tartlets

(makes 4 small tarts or about 18 canapés )

Recipe adapted from the cookbook Sun Bread and Sticky Toffee by Sarah Al-Hamad.

You will need: 4 x 10cm tartlet tins or 2 canapé sized patty tins, lightly greased with butter.

Ingredients:
150g almonds or a mixture of other nuts, hazelnuts
200g dates, roughly chopped
For the filling
100g mascarpone
75g yoghurt
2 tablespoons icing sugar
zest and juice of 1 small lemon or lime
For the topping
Your choice of fresh berries, pomegranate seeds or chopped fruit like mangos and kiwis

How to make:
Pre heat the oven to 350F/180C/160C Fan Oven/ Gas 4. Place the nuts into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add in the dates and process until finely chopped and both ingredients have fully combined. You might need to bring the ingredients together with your hand before turning out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the date and nut mixture to desired size and line the tins. Used a small pastry cutter for the canapé sized patty tin.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until the date and nut bases are slightly darker in color and feel firm. When cool, remove from the tin.

Place all the ingredients for the filling into a bowl and beat together until smooth. Spoon into tart bases and top with desired fruits. Dust with a little icing sugar just before serving.

Note: Make the tart bases a day or two ahead of time and store in an airtight container until required. Recipe easily doubles.

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