Tag Archives: fruit

Sweet Date and Coconut Sauce

Everyone gets their own little cup for dunking some fresh fruit into this easy dessert sauce, made from date syrupfresh coconut cream, flavoured with pandan leaf and vanilla!  A sweet exotic sauce inspired by the cuisine of Bali, which use palm sugar, coconut and pandan leaf in many of their sweet and savoury dishes! Attending a cooking class some years back at Bumbu Bali and the many times we dinned at the restaurant gave me a deeper understanding of how authentic Balinese food is prepared and cooked using many wonderful aromatic spices!

Popular in the middle east where there is an abundance of date palms, date syrup is sweet without being overly cloying and can be used to replace other molasses wherever treacle and syrups are traditionally used… delicious drizzled over pancakes and waffles!

Brands of tinned coconut cream vary, some containing lots of additives, do check the label and buy the best quality you can find! If you are lucky enough to have a supermarket that grates fresh coconut (Lulu in Bahrain, saving you the trouble), why not make your own fresh coconut cream… which I will post with another recipe!

Infusing date syrup and coconut cream with pandan leaf releases its earthy fragrance (which needs heat or bruising), adding a subtle unique grassy flavour to this sweet sauce!

A sweet sauce that is easily adaptable by infusing the sauce with other spices, like star anise or cinnamon. Replace the coconut cream with fresh cream or simply serve this sweet sauce drizzled over some vanilla or mango ice cream for another quick dessert!

Sweet Date and Coconut Sauce with Fresh Fruit

Ingredients:

  • 125g date syrup
  • 300g coconut cream
  • 1 pandan leaf (screwpine), tied in a knot
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour or cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (home-made) or store bought
  • for garnish, freshly grated coconut ( or moisten dried coconut with a little coconut cream)
  • for serving, fresh pineapple, banana and apple, cut into cubes (squeeze a little lemon juice over the cut fruit to keep its colour)

How to make:  Pour the date syrup and coconut cream into a small saucepan, add the pandan leaf. Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 3 minutes. Stir in the rice or cornflour mixture and cook for about two minutes, remove from heat and discard the pandan leaf. Stir in the vanilla extract and let the sauce cool before storing in the refrigerator.

To serve: Pour the chilled sauce into small cups or dishes and sprinkle over some fresh coconut, serve with freshly prepared fruit! Serves 6.

This post is part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop hosted by the The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader check out all the other delicious entries here!

fresh dates and pollination

Emerging female flowers of the date palm

The arrival of date season brings an abundance of fresh dates and many varieties of this delicious fruit are available in shops, markets and stalls across the Island. Being a bit of a food stalker, these photographs were taken at different times throughout the year and like the lemon tree,  I wanted to share the incredible magic of mother nature.

February: Having date palms in the garden makes date season magical…  witnessing the first cluster of flowers emerge (shown above) among the fronds of the female date palm… to the growing and ripening stages of this sweet-sticky delectable fruit.

A cut branch of male flowers containing pollen

Hand pollination of a date palm

Male date palms do not produce any fruit, however their flowers contain pollen which enable the female date palm to produce fruit when pollinated.
March: In the photograph above hand-pollination is taking place… smearing male flowers (containing pollen) over the female flowers. Also tying a few strands of male flowers among the female flowers.

Pollinated fruit beginning to grow

Pruning a date palm

March: A couple of weeks after pollination fruit starts to form and will continue to grow, mature and ripen over a period of months!
Date palms and the growing fruit need pruning and tidying and the meager garden sheers will definitely not be up for the job…  some special tools are definitely required. With his knowledge and years of experience with palm trees… Bu Ahmed arrives with his climbing harness and scythe… and this is where my gardening skills truly end!

Climbing harness for palm trees

 Bare-foot and attached by a harness, Bu Ahmed climbs the palm tree, quickly pruning away sharp thorny spikes from the lower fronds and tidying its trunk… making it all look so effortless!

Tying cluster of un-ripe dates

May:  Pulling and tying down the heavy laden branches with un-ripened fruit makes the fruit easier to reach when ripe and at the same time beautifying the tree.

Some thinning of the fruit clusters had been necessary and cutting away parts of the clusters encourage dates to reach maximum growth, also ensures better air-flow around the fruit. Thankfully nothing every goes to waste with a palm tree and the wheelbarrow full of cuttings with un-ripened fruit is used for cattle feed!

June: Different varieties of dates  (mentioned in an earlier post) develop their own characteristic colours while ripening, shown in the photographs above and below.

July – August: Some dates have ripened (very quickly) and this is where all the sweetness begins… ! Most will be shared among family and friends, some enjoyed simply as they are, others used with cake and dessert recipes and some frozen for later use.

What is your favourite date recipe?

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