Soft, gooey, luscious, melt-in-mouth and decadently sweet Dates are my go to treats whenever I begin to crave for a sweet. They substitute the urge to indulge in a chocolate or bite into a mithai. If I was asked to name few of my favourite foods, Dates or Khajoor would be on top of that list, that is how much I love these dainty and indulgent bites.
Dates have been integral to our cuisine and winter is the time when the intake of Dates increased tremendously. Khajoor Paak and various other winter eats have Dates as its hero ingredient. Growing up, I remember snacking on pitted Dates filled with a blob of clotted ghee and some roasted peanuts on the side!! Snacks for us were always homemade like a roti-wrap or sukhdi or chikki (nut-brittle) or laddoos made from Bhakhri (Gujarati shortcrust flat bread) ghee and jaggery. And there were no short cuts, heading to a store to fetch a pack of snack was simply not done!!
Dates have been part of my every day snack regime for a couple of decades, with time the quality of Dates available in the local market has only improved. I normally use them to sweeten the dalia porridge, milk shakes and serve as base to many of my sugar-free desserts. Hence the need to turn them into syrup so as to increase the scope of its usage was much obvious. Thus far I have refrained myself from buying Date Syrup because of my apprehension to the use of sugar in the syrup!! The amount of Dates I use these days urged me to make a Date Syrup for myself and thus save lot of time and energy in the subsequent cooks.
The uses of this luscious and caramely syrup are immense top it on ice-creams, smoothies, milkshakes, cereals, dessert dips etc..etc.. and making it does require some time and work. Try using the best quality of dates available, the yield and the colour of the syrup will depend on the type of dates used.
Homemade Date Syrup
- 5 cups of Dates, pitted
- 11 to 12 cups of water
- Wash the Dates thoroughly, until the water runs clean.
- In a heavy bottom sauce-pan bring the water to boil, add the Dates and turn off the flame.
- Allow the Dates to soak for atleast an hour.
- After the Dates have soaked for an hour turn on the flame and cook the Dates for 15-20 minutes.
- Turn off the flame, brake the Dates in the water using back of a ladle.
- Once the mixture has come down to a temperature when you can work with it, using a sieve or strainer or cheese cloth begin to sieve the mixture in small batches. (I have used sieve because I did not want to lose on the pulp. I wanted the date pulp of remain in the syrup.)
- Once the entire mixture has been strained transfer it to the same saucepan and bring it to boil and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remember to stir continuously.
- If you choose to cook it more you’ll have a thick syrup so use your judgement. If the Dates you have used were really pulpy you might want to increase the quantity of water by a cup, here too use your judgement and eyeball the quantity.
- Transfer the cooled Date Syrup to a clean jar and refrigerate.
- Use as required.
DO not throw away the residue of the pulp, use it to make stuffed paratha or knead a dough to make some delish flat breads like our humble Bhakhri..