Her latest thing is the so called "råbollar" or raw balls, which is a really tasty and hopefully fairly healthy sweet/snack. So when I last spoke with her (she's very busy these days), I pushed her to let me know the recipe and the other day I got to work.
Makes around 35
55 g walnuts
50 g pecans
50 g Brazil nuts
55 g cashews
50 g almonds
50 g pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp water
200 g Mozafati or Bam dates, pitted
20 g coconut fat at room temperature
dessicated coconut for rolling
- Use a food processor to grind all the nuts and seeds as finely as possible, but don't let them turn into butter.
- Add the water, dates and coconut fat and whizz until it comes together to a dough
- Roll small bite-sized balls, then coat with dessicated coconut.
- Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Now I don't have a food processor, only a hand held blender with a number of attachments, among which is a mini-processor. So what I did was grind each type of seed on its own, because I didn't think all would fit in.
Well aware how thick the mixture would be, I added the water, dates and coconut fat and changed to the liquidizer attachment. Needless to say, it wasn't able to cope, went hot and started smelling of burnt. I stopped, packed everything up, put in the fridge and decided to call it a day. The blender took forever to cool down, so I almost wrote it off. But the next day, I decided to try again, and even managed to squeeze the whole mixture into the mini-processor. The blender still worked, miraculously, and eventually I managed to get the mixture to a paste, but had to give it a lot of help on the way, by carefully removing the parts that had the right consistency and then pushing the non-ready parts down to the blades.
So, eventually with a lot of care, I reached a point where the mixture/dough seemed to be of the right consistency and I rolled the balls and coated with coconut. When Lundulph came home and had a look in the fridge, he exclaimed joyfully that there were secret fancy things in there. And he really liked them! Not too sweet, nice texture, a bit like some Indian sweets we've tried in the past. He tried to work out what sorts of nuts I'd used - he got 3. Personally I would have liked them a little sweeter.
On the whole, I'm very pleased with this recipe - it allows for plenty of variation - basically use the nuts/seeds you have at hand and I believe raisins or sultanas or other dried fruit would work just as well. Lundulph did some research on nuts a couple of years ago and commented that I should try to cut out the cashews and Brazil nuts, apparently they are not as healthy as walnuts, pecans and almonds. Also he was wondering if I could skip the coconut fat as well. Maybe it's possible - I'd need to increase the amount of fruits.
A brief word on dates. When we went to Dubai last year, we bought a box of dates from the market. In fact there was a whole section dedicated to just dates there. Now I've never been a fan of dates, I always found them gritty, so was highly reluctant when the seller tried to almost force-feed us in order to get the sell. But I'm glad he was so insistent, because I had an epiphany and immediately bought the box, vaguely wondering if I should get a second one, so I wouldn't have to share with Lundulph, who was also very pleasantly surprised about the taste. Well back home, I investigated the box and discovered that the dates were called "Mozafati" and were the sweetest, creamiest thing ever. I used them for my carrot and date cupcakes last year. Since then, I've been searching for this type of dates in the UK, without success and came to the conclusion that these aren't exported to the West and the chap that sold us these dates knew exactly what he was doing. However, after having given up, I spotted a stack of boxes in our local farm shop and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the magic word "Mozafati" printed on them. Needless to say, I bought 6 boxes, any more would have attracted way too much attention, I suspect. Now we're rationing them, to make them last as long as possible. In my research, I managed to find out that these are mainly produced in Iran and around the city of Bam, thus they are also known as Bam dates. The tricky thing with them, which also makes them expensive is that they are picked when they are half-dried, meaning each date palm needs to be harvested several times, as opposed to other types of dates, where the whole bunches are picked in one go. On occasion, I've also come across Medjool dates, which come close to the Mozafati, and Medjool are more readily available too.
Speaking with my Dad the other day, he told me he'd been treated to these lovelies twice and said that Bip had added agave syrup to the second batch and then they'd tasted nicer. When I told Lundulph, he said no to additional sugar. Oh well, we'll see. At least my first batch is almost gone now, it's quite nice to have a couple of so along with a cup of tea. And speaking of variations, I'm getting the idea of perhaps even hiding a whole nut or a piece of dried fruit in the middle. I'll try that next time. I might also see what appliance I can get rid of and get myself a proper food processor...