Ramadan is one of the most auspicious times of the year for Muslims all over the world. With so much focus on discipline and mindfulness, it’s as important to ensure that the food eaten is held with reverence too. Showing restraint, modesty and consideration through food is something I’ve begun to reflect on more as I’ve gotten older (and begun having to pay for the kitchen stock myself!) I love a lavish spread but it often isn’t realistic or healthy. One of the ways I like to curb hunger pangs in the early hours of sehri (pre dawn meal) is by adding dates to everything. The natural sugars also help keep my sweet tooth at bay and the potassium is certain to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. I’ve made smoothies and laddoos in the past, but today I thought I’d try some fudgy, artificial sugar free alternatives to barfi. These would be great all year round too, as quick healthy breakfast bars for when you’re in a hurry.
Prep+cooking time: 45 mins
Servings: makes around 20 1cm thick slices
200g pitted medjool dates *
100g almond flakes
50g coconut oil (or any other ghee or nut butter. Avoid palm or vegetable oils as it will take on the taste of the oil)
50g coconut flour (or plain flour)
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of nutmeg
Pit the medjool dates and leave to one side. Prepare two A4 sized sheets of greaseproof paper for later.
In a dry shallow pan, toast the nuts before grinding into a course paste. Add a little water if using a grinder to allow give it some slick. Generally the paste will be on the drier side.
In a small pan, heat the coconut oil on a medium heat before adding the almond and pistachio paste along with the cardamom and nutmeg.
Break the medjool dates into this heated mixture and mash into the paste. The beauty of medjool dates are that it takes very little to release their natural fudge sweetness. Eventually your greenish nut paste should take on a brownish hue.
Take the pan off the heat and add your flour, folding in with a spatula. The residual heat will cook the flour through.
Remove the mixture and spread onto one sheet of greaseproof paper. Roughly spread flat with the back of the spatula before placing the second greaseproof paper on top and flattening softly with a rolling pin to a 1cm thickness. The paper will prevent the barfi from sticking to the rolling pin or the board.
Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the barfi has hardened, sprinkle a final dusting of pistachio crumbs and an optional smattering of edible silver. Cut into diamond shapes and eat as you please!
Note: These will store well for 3-4 weeks if refrigerated in an airtight container, though I doubt they’ll last long enough!
*Medjool dates were gifted by The Date Project. All opinions are my own.