Dates are revered, and much enjoyed, in Morocco. Of the more than two hundred
varieties that the country produces, large mejhoul dates are the ones used for special
occasions and special recipes like these stuffed dates. Typically, the almond paste is
much sweeter than in this recipe, and the stuffed date is rolled in sugar. I prefer to let
the dates’ natural and intense sweetness shine.
To make the dates festive, many Moroccan cooks work some food coloring—red, green,
yellow, even blue—into the almond paste before stuffing it inside the dates.
3⁄4 cup/100 g ground almonds
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp orange flower water
Food coloring (optional)
12 mejhoul dates or other large, sweet
date variety with pits
12 walnut halves or 12 unsalted toasted
almonds without skins
In a mixing bowl, add the ground almonds,
powdered sugar, and orange flower water. Add
1 Tbsp water and work into a paste. The dough
should be slightly moist; add a few more drops of
water (or orange flower water) if needed.
If using food coloring, divide the paste into
even parts, add 5 or 6 drops of a single color to
each, and work in.
Wipe the dates with a damp cloth. Cut a
lengthwise incision across the top of each date
and carefully remove the pit. Take 1 tsp or so of
the almond paste, roll it between your palms into
a spherical shape, and tuck inside the date. It
should bulge out of the opening. Repeat with the
remaining paste and dates. Garnish each date
with a walnut pressed slightly edgewise into the
almond paste before serving.