Do you remember those shiny exciting days when you were young and foolish and thought that eating a teaspoon of chocolate powder was bound to be a more intense experience than, say, dissolving the powder in a predictably boring bowl of hot milk?
Yeah, you do. You also remember coughing so much the powder would actually come out of your nostrils and make you look like Puff the Magic Dragon.
Oh, do sing along, you wusses!
Now you're all grown up and still silly (bless your cotton socks) but you drink coffee more often than hot chocolate, and you might have had trouble inhaling whole beans. Although you might have unusually large nostrils. In which case they are called blowholes and you are some sort of freak porpoise and you should NOT be on the internet, you Cetacean weirdo [espèce de cétacé cinglé].
Yeah don't give me that look. You're not even a freakin porpoise. And get off the computer.
Lucky, lucky bastards (bande de veinards), I am here to save the day and bring back that special childhood feel. You know you still have Puff the Magic Dragon inside of you.
Which brings me back to my recipe. Initially, it was going to be this lovely dry biscuit with a mellow date centre, with a hint of cinnamon and orange blossom water. (That's powerful stuff [c'est fort, ce truc], by the way the guy who sold it to me - in a 50cl format for 2 euros - said it could be handy if I fainted [si je tombais dans les pommes]. So girls, whenever you feel faint, make sure you have this half litre of orange blossom goodness in your designer clutch. With the Cannes season starting now, we can't have you feeling all dizzy on the red carpet).
The recipe comes from Culinary Delights, and is rather elliptic, though not that difficult to interpret.
You want (for about 15 powdery stodgers):
100g of soft butter (sultry weather in Paris means you just pop it out of the fridge 15 minutes prior to baking)
100g of fine semolina
100g of flour
pinch of salt (I should have put more)
pinch of baking soda (not sure that really mattered, to be honest)
a little bit of orange blossom water (didn't need it, my butter was soft alright)
And for the (truly gorgeous) filling:
about 125g of date paste
a cloud of cinnamon
a teaspoon of faint medicine (it might need a tad more [un chouia de plus])
And then, easy does it (fastoche):
Mix all the dry ingredients and the butter, shape it into a ball (or a porpoise but that's really up to you), wrap it up in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour.
I might have wanted to let it rest longer, the semolina didn't get a chance to soak up the butter and remained crunchy. Too much so, anyway, although I don't usually mind a little crunch.
Preparing the filling was easy enough as I had a pair of helping hands who gently massaged the orange blossom water into the cinnamon/date paste goo. No, it wasn't the porpoise helping me. For Pete's sake (nom d'un chien) stop waffling on about that porpoise. It's starting to piss everybody off (ça fait chier tout le monde). Back to the recipe, thank you.
Nice score, huh. Whoever finds who the composer is gets a random treat shipped worldwide.
This way you also brush up your sight reading, haha.
Then, it's as easy as it gets: get the dough out of the fridge, pat it flat in the palm of your hand, make a little date marble (ah, childhood memories come flowing back, don't they now), shove it in the middle of the dough ball and wrap the dough flaps back on top.
No, it isn't rocket science, I'm afraid.
When you are done with all the dough and have eaten the date paste leftovers with your sidekick, you should get a nice army of little soldiers. Photomontage here we come:
Pop in oven, 15 mins at 150°C, the idea being that you don't want them to brown. They have to remain pretty sallow. Get them out of the oven, give them a fashionable 10 minutes to cool down (does anything cool down AT ALL in Paris at the moment, or is everybody melting like my mom watching George Clooney?).
Then gobble one. Then have your trusty sidekick perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on you (see diagramme below).
I enjoy Health and Safety, all teachers do. That doesn't make me a bad person.
They are really sandy. The outside crust is very fragile and gets in your airways if you're lucky, or spills on the floor if you grab the thing with a little too much enthusiasm. Maybe it's worth assessing whether you'd rather spend one hour in the A&Es or 15 minutes cleaning up the mess. There is a higher chance that you will meet George Clooney in A&Es than in your kitchen. All proportions kept.
The inside was nice and datey, but then again it was that way when you first licked the bowl clean. Maybe I could have skipped the whole semolina crust thing. Less is more, guys (le mieux est l'ennemi du bien, les copains).
Anyone in for another bite?
No, porpoise, no, you, BACK OFF