We recently celebrated Passover, and given that Passover is a very old holiday, we decided to have some old fashioned sweetmeats for dessert. Sweetmeats are usually confections of dried fruit and nuts, and come in all varieties. We decided to try out a few and were very pleased with the results. They are easy to make and are much healthier than most modern candies.
We made four different treats:
Don't be constrained by these recipes. It's easy to try variations using whatever dried fruits and nuts you have around.
- Dates stuffed with almonds
- Prunes stuffed with hazelnuts
- Candied orange peel
- Figs stuffed with candied orange peel
|Four sweet treats
Candied Orange Peel
Peel the outer skin off of an orange or two using a vegetable peeler. You don't want the pithy part, just the orange outer layer. Boil a pot of water and dump in the peel for about five or six minutes. In a pot, dissolve about a half cup of sugar in with a quarter cup (or less) of water. Bring it to a boil. Put in the orange peel. If you have a candy thermometer, you want to cook the peel to about 230F. If you don't have a thermometer, let it cook down until the liquid is thick syrup. Lay out a sheet of wax paper, cover it with a quarter cup of sugar. Remove the orange slices from the pot and spread them out on the sugar. Put some more sugar on top. When they are cool enough, toss them around in the sugar.
TIP: Save some of the orange sugar. It can be used to coat dried fruits for making other sweetmeats.
Figs Stuffed with Candied Orange Peel
We use calimyrna figs, not the darker mission figs, but you can probably use any kind of fig you want. Cut off the hard nib of the fig. Cut a slit in the fig. Stuff in some candied orange rind and squeeze shut. Roll the fig around in some of the extra orange sugar.
Dates Stuffed with Almonds
We use deglet noor dates, but you can use any dry date for this recipe. We use regular almonds, not blanched almonds, but you might try any almonds you want. Using the almond as a knife, slit the date and stuff the almond into it. Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt or other coarse salt onto them for a nice tang. That's it.
Prunes Stuffed with Hazelnuts
Unless you have a peculiary tough type of prune and need to use a knife, just shove a hazelnut or two into each prune. Sprinkle a few grains of sea salt or other coarse salt onto them for a nice tang.