Bake This: Tahini Chocolate Date Brownies from Middle Eastern Sweets

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“Best served with vanilla ice cream or a cup of coffee,” says Salma Hage

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Our cookbook of the week is Middle Eastern sweets by Salma Hage. Tomorrow, we will offer you an interview with the author.

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To try another recipe from the book, check out: Sweet potato pecan latkes; and Turkish delight with orange and pistachio.

Perhaps more than any other chapter in Middle Eastern sweets , the one devoted to cakes illustrates a cook born in Lebanon and based in London at Salma Hage love of bridge cultures.

She swirls sweet date brownies with Tahini Marble Cheesecake with date syrup before topping them with crumbled halva. Her favorite banana cake features ground cardamom and French treats such as cannelés, sweets and madeleines bring the aromas of orange blossom and rose water.

“Although the foundations of my food philosophy lie in my childhood and adulthood in the Middle East,” writes Hage, “I have been in the UK for most of my adult life and have been there. worked most of the time as a cook. “

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Here, she mixes a favorite American treat with two must-haves from the Levant: dates and tahini. Using Medjool dates for their “warm, bass note sweetness” allowed Hage to reduce the amount of white sugar in the recipe.

  1. Sweet Potato Pecan Latkes from Sweets Middle Eastern.

    Cook This: Pecan Sweet Potato Latkes from Middle Eastern Sweets

  2. Turkish delight with orange and pistachio candy from the Middle East.

    Cook This: Turkish Delight With Orange And Pistachio From Middle Eastern Sweets

Melty, dense and rich – thanks in large part to the tahini – she recommends serving brownie squares with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cup of coffee. The brownies freeze well, Hage adds, and will last up to three days in a sealed container.

Middle Eastern sweets
Middle Eastern Sweets is the fourth cookbook by James Beard Award-winning author Salma Hage. Photo by Phaidon

TAHINI AND CHOCOLATE BROWNIES DATE

Preperation: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes for soaking
To cook: 30 to 40 minutes

12 pitted Medjool dates
10 1/2 oz (300 g) unsalted butter, plus a little more for greasing
12 oz (350 g) dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
4 large eggs
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) superfine sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla paste
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (6 oz / 175 g) generous all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (1 3/4 oz / 50 g) raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
8 teaspoons of tahini

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Step 1

Soak the dates in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.

2nd step

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C). Butter an 8 × 12 inch (20 × 30 cm) pan and line with parchment paper.

Step 3

Drain the dates and blend them in a food processor until a paste forms.

Step 4

Scrape into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Step 5

Place the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place them over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is half melted, then remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely melted. Reserve in the fridge.

Step 6

Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of date mixture and whisk with an electric hand mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Step 7

Stir cocoa powder and flour into egg mixture until completely combined. Then add the melted chocolate and the butter as well as the pistachios. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the tahini on top, in random places around the pan. Slide a skewer into the tahini to create a nice, lighter swirl on top.

Step 8

Bake brownies in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until firm to the touch but still soft and gooey in the center – they may take an additional 5 minutes, depending on your oven. The brownies will continue to cook as they cool.

Step 9

Let the brownies cool completely, then remove them from the pan and cut them into 30 squares.

Makes: 30

Recipe adapted from Middle Eastern sweets: Desserts, pastries, creams and sweets by Salma Hage (Phaidon, $ 45, 2021)

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