My great grandmother appears to have had a love affair with dates and nuts. Some of her other recipes were date nut bread, date nut bars, and a cake. Judging from a bit of research, cooking with dates and nuts was not uncommon during the Depression era. This date and nut baked pudding is a great example of a pudding that did not have to be watched on the stove, freeing the cook to do other things while it baked. Dates added sweetness when sugar was at a premium price and nuts were often free for the picking (from the ground when they fell) in many parts of the country. There is only a smidgen of flour and butter here. Eggs and milk were most likely provided by a local farmer (in Ohio where my great grandmother lived). She was the wife of a dentist and I know from my grandmother that they were often paid in goods and services in lieu of cash during those lean times. I took the liberty of gussying up my great grandmother’s recipe by adding some chocolate and espresso to this already tasty recipe. It is also a one bowl affair which is always a plus.

SERVES 6
  • 1 cup chopped dates (pour scant 1/4 c. boiling water over them, let sit for 5 minutes, and then puree till smooth)
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts (I used pistachios)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (scant)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon espresso
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • pinches salt
  • `1 handfuls chopped dark chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 300F. Butter an 8X8 baking dish. Stir all ingredients in a bowl until fully incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Let cool a bit and serve by itself, with vanilla ice cream, unsweetened whipped cream, or some thick yogurt.

 

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