Dates are probably one of the most underrated fruits around. Once prized by nations for its sweetness and nutritious pulp, it’s fallen to the wayside to make room for trendy super foods.
But it could be said that dates were the original super food, having been cultivated for some 5,000 years. They are nutrition-rich, with an abundance of iron, calcium, Vitamins A and C and are said to slow the development of heart disease and cancer. Yet they seem to be rarely acknowledged in the UK beyond being the perfect way to break a fast or as a moist-maker in cakes and puddings.
To learn more about dates, I travelled to Kebili in Southern Tunisia.
On a recent trip to Tunisia, I discovered a deliciously addictive sweet pastry called makroud. The snack is found mainly in Tunisia and Algeria but has also spread to Morocco and other parts of Northern Africa.
It’s essentially date paste wrapped in semolina, deep fried and then doused in honey. It’s rich, like baklava but less sweet, with a nutty crunch like biscuits.
It’s not the easiest thing to make as the semolina can be quite crumbly but you’ll find yourself eating one after the other until they’re all gone.