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Old 05-05-2008, 01:25 PM   #1
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Question about dried vs fresh dates

I have a friend who is always asking me culinary questions and usually I can help her but on this one, while I think I know most of the answer, I don't want to steer her wrong.

She is making a greek dessert and it calls for 400 grams of chopped fresh dates which are cooked in cream. She only has processed dates and wanted to know if she could reconstitute them by adding water to the cream. I told her no, that this will only cook them down more and make her mixture sloppy.

What I don't know is, can she use the dates at all or does she need either fresh dates or a new recipe?

The second question she had was about substituting dried lemon rind for fresh and how much should she use in place of a teaspoon. Since this is a product I am not familiar with (I always use fresh) again I can't answer her.

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Old 05-05-2008, 02:20 PM   #2
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Fresh dates are a very different animal than dry dates. Dry dates further also come in different varieties.

Fresh dates are crunchy and it feels like almost biting into a mini apple with a pit in the middle. I have not seen many recipes asking for fresh dates.

Dry dates come in various varieties (large and small, soft and hard). The softer ones are what a lot of recipes call for so I suspect your friend is referring to these.

I am not sure what you mean by processed dates. Is it date pulp, if so it's still dates and not really processed and can be used with cream or whatever in the recipe.

Also lemon zest is best used fresh and depending on the recipe you can use little or lot. I have never used dried lemon zest to be able to comment. Zest has a lot of oil in it and that oil will be lost the longer you store it and in the end the dry stuff will turn into nothing but powder without any flavor.
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Old 05-05-2008, 02:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakuta View Post
Fresh dates are a very different animal than dry dates. Dry dates further also come in different varieties.

Fresh dates are crunchy and it feels like almost biting into a mini apple with a pit in the middle. I have not seen many recipes asking for fresh dates.

Dry dates come in various varieties (large and small, soft and hard). The softer ones are what a lot of recipes call for so I suspect your friend is referring to these.

I am not sure what you mean by processed dates. Is it date pulp, if so it's still dates and not really processed and can be used with cream or whatever in the recipe.

Also lemon zest is best used fresh and depending on the recipe you can use little or lot. I have never used dried lemon zest to be able to comment. Zest has a lot of oil in it and that oil will be lost the longer you store it and in the end the dry stuff will turn into nothing but powder without any flavor.
Thanks, Yakuta, this is all pretty much as I suspected, but you were able to put it in better, more confident words. What I meant by "processed dates" are what we by in the store - dried, pitted and pressed into a block.

I double checked and the recipe definitely says "chopped fresh dates". But from what you have said I think I will tell her to go ahead and use her dates not adding any extra liquid.

And it seems we agree on the dried lemon zest - never heard of it and would rather than fresh. I think I will get DH to drive over one of my fresh lemons tonight!

Well, I will be trying this dessert at her place tomorrow night so we shall see how it turns out!
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Old 05-05-2008, 04:14 PM   #4
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dried lemon zest is redily available here in the stores. However fresh is always better. Also just to add one point. I have never even seen fresh dates in the store. So I really wonder about that recipe.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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We went to our friends' for dessert last night and the finished product was delicious. What it turned out to be was a date filling made with chopped dates (she used the dried which were fine) and cream with a touch of lemon zest (she used orange because she had fresh of that). It was wrapped in phyllo pastry and cut into slices. They were very tasty! Thanks for your help!
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