Friday, October 12, 2018

Easy Date - Pistachio Crescent Cookies

In preparation for next spring's Food Festival, I was asked by the Chair of St. Sarkis’ Women’s Guild to prepare a cookie – specifically one with a date filling - for the members to sample. (It's never too early to plan for such a special event!) 

The Apricot Crescent Cookie recipe I posted ages ago came to mind. I immediately got to work making the cookies, switching the apricot filling for one made with dates.

After the cookies were sampled at last week's meeting,I was invited to include my recipe to their dessert line-up. (I guess they liked it!)

You don’t have to wait until spring to make these. My easy version takes hardly any time to prepare and they'll make an impressive addition to any holiday meal!
My Easy Date-Pistachio Crescent Cookies

Easy Date - Pistachio Crescent Cookies

For the dough:
2 commercially-prepared pie crusts, such as Pillsbury

Filling Ingredients:
1 ½  cups (give or take) commercially prepared date paste (sold in Middle eastern stores)** See recipe below for creating homemade date paste
1 Tbsp. orange blossom water, optional (sold in Middle Eastern stores and Whole Foods)
1-2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. orange zest
¼ cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped
Egg wash: 1 egg, beaten
Garnish: additional chopped pistachios and/or coarse sugar, optional

Filling Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients –EXCEPT for the nuts - until smooth and spreadable. If the date mixture is too stiff, stir in warm water a little at a time without making the filling too watery. Stir the pistachios into the date mixture until evenly distributed. Set filling aside.

Dough Directions:
Work with one prepared crust at a time. 
On a lightly floured work surface and using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the pie crust dough into a fairly thin large circle.

Assembly Directions:
Rolled pie crust spread with a thin layer of date-pistachio filling
Spread half of the filling on the dough, leaving about ¼ inch of the dough exposed around the edge.

Cut, as you would a pie, into 12 wedges – or more - depending on how large or small you want the cookies to be. (A pizza cutter makes this step very easy!)

Start rolling each wedge starting at the wide end toward the small point. Using your fingers, turn the ends downward to make a crescent-shape. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.

Brush the cookie surfaces with egg wash. Sprinkle additional chopped pistachios and/or coarse sugar, if you wish. Gently press toppings so they adhere.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool cookies completely on wire racks. Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Any leftover cookies can be wrapped and stored in the freezer.

You can make date paste at home. It’s really easy! You just need dates and water. Pitted Medjool dates work extremely well for this.

**Directions to make about 1 cup of Date Paste:
Soak about 12 to 13 pitted dates in warm water (1 to 2 – or more cups, depending on how dry the dates are) for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Scoop the dates out of the water (don’t drain it; you’ll need some of the soaking water) and place them in a blender or food processor with some of the soaking water. (Start with ¼ cup of the soaking water.)

Puree until the mixture is soft and fluffy. If it’s too thick, add a little more of the water.

Store the date paste in a jar with a lid. This should keep in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.

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