One of my favourite recipes is from Apicius – Dulcia Domestica or stuffed honeyed dates.
This recipe won 2nd in the transportable sweets section in a Lohcac Arts & Sciences competition. If found the recipe at a local library ina book called “Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome” by Joseph Vehling ISBN 0-486-23563-7
Little home confections (which are called dulciaria) are made thus: Little palms or (as they are ordinarily called) dates are stuffed after the seeds have been removed – with a nut or with nuts and ground pepper, sprinkled with salt on the outside and are candied in honey and served.
Take an equal number of fresh dates and blanced, dry almonds. Make a spice mix of 1/2 tspn cinnamon, 1/4 tspn giner and 1/8 tspn black pepper (or spices of your choosing). Roll the almonds int he mix and let sit. Remove the date pits, being careful not to crush or tear the date. Take the almonds and stuff into date cavity. If you have nay extra spice mix dredge into the date cavilty, and sprinkle date with some salt. Take 1/2 cup of good honey and put in a saucepan on the stove to heat until runny. Put the dates into the honeya nd fry until candied. A good indicator of this happening is the honey clinging to the dates and the honey deepening its colour slightly. Serve warm.
When preparing this dish be very careful with the hone. It heats quickly and can cause nasty burns if it comes in contact with skin.
This recipe also works quite well with dried apricots – open up the slit on the side of the apricot, stuff with almond and spices and proceed as above for candying.
Vehline, Joseph 1977 Apicius: Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome General Publishing Company Ltd, Canada ISBN 0-486-23563-7
© Adeline de Montfort