Dates are popular treats at Christmas time throughout the world. It’s definitely the case in Czech Republic, where I’ve seen beautiful ones in holiday baking sections at grocery stores. Here they are stuffed with marzipan that has a bit of orange essence, and then top with candied fruit, another ingredient you see a lot of in Czech stores around the holidays. Though any candied or dried fruit works well, I particularly love to use the combination of candied orange peel and halved dried cranberries on top. If you have the marzipan ready and handy, these are quick to make.
- 20 to 30 large dates (i.e., Medjool, Halawi, Khadrawi, or similar), pitted
- 100 to 150 grams prepared almond or pistachio marzipan (halve recipe here for homemade almond marzipan)
- 2 teaspoons orange juice or a couple drops of orange extract (or pistachio extract)
- If needed: confectioner’s sugar, for help handling of the marzipan
- Optional: shelled pistachios
- Chopped colorful candied or chopped dried fruit (candied orange peel, cherries, pineapple, cranberries, citron, or even ginger). One or a combination.
Pit the dates by cutting partly through them with a paring knife, vertically, then remove pits.
Knead into the marzipan either the small amount of orange juice or a couple drops of extract. If even needed, use confectioner’s sugar on hands and work surface to prevent sticking.
If you wish to add a pistachio to each date, put one in each at this point. Then tear off small amounts of marzipan, and roll into little rolls that fit into each date. Once all filled, top marzipan with chopped candied or dried fruit bits.
Extra dried or candied fruit? Check out Moroccan Cookies (Marokanky).