I once read that we should eat something sweet at the end of a meal to signal our brain to stop eating… Well, I beg to differ! Quite frankly if I eat something sweet, I want to eat more – of the sweet stuff! Case in point, these decadent little bites that I made last week. The recipe is for 8 dates. Do not make more! I assure you that you won’t stop eating them until the plate is empty. However, in theory they make the perfect dessert. Two intense bites of sweetness, and your brain will be signaled to stop eating. Oh who are we kidding?
These dates are stuffed with brownie curd and crème fraîche and then rolled in crushed walnuts. They are heavenly when warmed just before serving, but equally as good at room temperature. I had never heard of brownie curd until I found it in my go-to dessert cookbook – “Brownie Points” by Lisa Slater. It is not quite as soft as a lemon curd, verging more on the texture of a chocolate pâté, once refrigerated. However the versatility of the curd, will make it a staple in your fridge. Aside from eating it straight from the spoon (like me), it can be used in myriad desserts that I plan to experiment with. The crème fraîche (recipe here) serves to mellow out the intensity of this sweet experience. And the orange zest elevates each bite to sheer bliss! I suggest packaging a batch of these in a cute box for your valentine.
Well, I have the honour of co-hosting this week’s Fiesta Friday with the super talented Lily of Little Sweet Baker. You must check out her site to be mesmerized by her gorgeous recipes! I haven’t co-hosted for a long time now, so I am super stoked to be able to meet and greet all of the guests this week with Lily. If you are new to Fiesta Friday, and would like to join us, please see the simple guidelines here.
Medjool Dates Stuffed with Brownie Curd and Crème Fraîche
2 ounces walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
8 large Medjool dates
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
3 tablespoons brownie curd
Zest of 1 orange
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Place the chopped walnuts on a plate
Slice the dates open, just enough to remove the pit. Do not half.
Gently spread open the sides and press down on the interior flesh to make room for the fillings.
Using a small spoon, divide the crème fraîche among the dates.
Do the same with the Brownie Curd, covering the crème fraîche.
Gently squeeze the sides of the dates together to contain the filling.
Sprinkle the orange zest over the dates.
Holding the dates by their sides, dip them into the chopped walnuts so that the top is completely covered.
Place the dates on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and warm in the oven for no more than 3-4 minutes, before the chocolate fully melts, but enough to warm the crème fraîche.
1 cup whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, sliced in half lengthwise
½ cup cocoa
½ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 whole egg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Place the cream and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a low simmer and turn off the heat. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds from the bean into the cream. Rinse the bean and place it in your sugar jar to flavor your sugar.
Add the cocoa to the cream and whisk to blend.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and heat just until you see bubbles around the edges.
In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, egg and salt.
Gradually whisk the warm cream into the egg and sugar mixture.
Place a sieve over the saucepan and pour the curd mixture back into the pot, discarding whatever is left in the sieve.
Return the pot to the heat and mix constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture must not boil! Keep mixing until you see and feel the curd thickening. From time to time, remove the pan from the heat and stir, keeping an eye on the mixture to make sure it is not boiling or burning on the bottom.
When the curd has thickened to the consistency of sour cream, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and chopped chocolate. Mix to blend completely.
At this point you may pour the curd into pre-baked tart shells or place in a sealed container with a piece of plastic wrap set directly on the surface of the curd to keep it moist.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.