23 October 2018
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Recipe of the Week

 

IMQARET
Dates Diamonds
 
Imqaret are a traditional sweet, very popular with the Maltese People. These are date-filled pastries, from the island’s Arabic heritage.
 
They are a really delicious snack which are often served from street markets especially during the village feasts. 
 
The ingredients are very simple. The pastry is filled with a date mixture combined with anisette, a sweet liquourice-flavoured liqueur, very popular in France, Portugal, Mexico, Italy and Spain. The imqaret are fried in hot oil and served immediately. In most Maltese restaurants these are often served with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.
 
This dish is for those who love the taste of dates and especially for those who are not too worried about rich food and are calorie counting!!!
 
So for those who are concerned about your calories, today I am giving you a different version of this recipe,it is my mum’s recipe. Approximately it contains the same ingredients, the difference is that we do not fry the pastries but bake it in the form of a swiss role and then cut it into diamond shapes, approximately the same size of the Imqaret. There’s no need to serve them immediately.  They can be stored in an airtight container.
 
The Maqrut (plural Imqaret) was chosen as the Maltese representative for Café Europe during the Austrian Presidency of the European Union in 2006 (Wikipedia, Maltese Cuisine).
 
Pastry:
 
Ingredients
 
500g flour
150g margarine
1 tablespoon oil
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Some water for binding.
 
Method
 
 
 
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
Cut the fat into small cubes and add to flour.
Process fat and flour together until a breadcrumb like mixture is obtained.
Add the sugar and then the oil.
Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time and start binding.
 
 
As the mixture starts to come together, continue binding by using your hands, until a round ball of dough is formed.
Wrap dough in cling film and refrigerate for approximately 1 hour.
Take the dough out of the fridge, let it stand for some minutes and knead it on a lightly floured surface.
Cut rectangular (13cm x 26cm) strips of pastry.
 
 
Filling:
 
Ingredients
 
1 pkt (250g) dates cut in cubes
1 apple cut in cubes
some water
½ tablespoon cocoa powder
grated mandarin, orange or lemon peel
1 shot glass of anisette liqueur
some milk
nipped almonds
 
Method
 
 
Put the dates and the apple in a saucepan and cover with water. 
Cover and cook over moderate heat. 
When mixture starts boiling add remaining ingredients except for anisette. 
Continue cooking until mixture is softened. 
Mash into a smooth paste.   
Turn off heat and add the anisette.  
Leave it to cool.
 
 
Take the strips of pastry and spread the date mixture in the middle of the strip. 
Fold pastry over, in the form of a swiss roll and seal carefully.
 
Place the roll in a greased swiss roll tray covered with baking sheet, and brush the pastry with milk. 
Sprinkle nipped almonds on top.
Mark the top of the pastry by cutting with a knife, diagonal slits along the roll, the portion size you require.
Bake in moderate temperature for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool on a wire rack and cut the roll into pieces as marked by the slits.
 
 
 
 
NB: I had some date filling leftover, so I made some sweet pastry (refer to Figolli recipe) and made these small date pies in individual foil cases.
 
 
 
Information and Recipe contributed by the ThinkSite.eu Team
10th July 2009
 

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