What’s cooking today: Date and walnut tart

What’s cooking today: Date and walnut tart
Tony Jackman’s walnut and date tart, on a matte black ‘paper’ ceramic plate and side plate by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

With Eid in mind and the tradition of breaking the fast with dates, I adapted my pecan pie recipe for walnuts and dates.

Muslims typically break their fast with dates and water. In South Africa, it’s become a custom to also have savouries, such as samoosas, and haleem (a thick soup made with oats and meat). Here’s a treat that could be seen as a sweet reward after the deprivations of the fast. You can make this recipe with walnuts or pecans. It’s sweetened with molasses, maple syrup and demerara sugar.


(Makes 2 tarts. They keep for a week or more in the fridge.)

1 packet of frozen puff pastry

1 cup (250 ml) maple syrup

1 cup (250 ml) molasses

1 cup / 250 g Demerara sugar

125 g butter

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

4 large eggs, beaten

½ tsp salt

2 cups walnuts

300 g pitted dates, chopped

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Whole walnuts for decorating


In a saucepan, bring the molasses, maple syrup, Demerara sugar and butter to a simmer, but keep an eye on it as it froths up and boils over in a flash. Simmer on a very low heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved. Stir the ground spices in. Remove and leave to cool to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

An hour before making the tart, put the chopped dates in a bowl and sprinkle 1 scant tsp of bicarb over. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over to cover and leave to cool.

Grease two pie dishes. Roll out the pastry. Place a pie dish top side down on the pastry and cut a circle 3 cm wider than the dish. Place in a dish and prick all over the bottom with a fork. Gather the rest of the pastry up, roll into a ball and roll out again, to repeat, pricking the second base with a fork too. Crimp the pastry all around the edges with finger and thumb. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

When the filling has cooled, whisk the eggs and fold them thoroughly into the syrup with the salt, followed by the (drained) dates and walnuts. Spoon into the pie bases. Bake for 40 to 45 minus until the pastry at the edges attains a golden hue, not too dark. Remove to a wire rack and leave to cool to room temperature before serving. It will be wobbly when hot, but will set when cooled, and can then be refrigerated. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream. DM/TGIFood

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • virginia crawford says:

    Artichoke hearts soaked in a little lenon juice, added to olive oil and roughly cut walnuts just before serving as a sauce for pasta. Delish. Garlic optional.

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