Tonight begins the Jewish festival of Tu-Bshvat. Traditionally, it is a more important festival in the Sephardi tradition. Here are some recipes collected by Ronit Treatman in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice:
The following Sephardic recipes are adapted from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. These traditional Tu B’Shevat recipes are vegan, gluten-free, and diabetic friendly. They are very tactile, and require no cooking.
North African Date-Walnut Balls
- 1 Lb. dried dates
- 2 ½ cups toasted, chopped walnuts
- ½ cup toasted, ground walnuts
Place the dates in a food processor. Grind them into a paste, adding a little cold water if necessary.
When the dates are transformed into a paste, mix in the chopped walnuts.
Rub a little olive oil into your hands. This will prevent the paste
from sticking to your fingers. Shape the paste into little balls.
Roll the date-nut balls in the ground walnuts to garnish.
Syrian Apricot-Pistachio Balls
- 1 Lb. dried apricots
- ½ cup toasted, chopped pistachios
- ½ cup toasted, ground pistachios
Prepare in the same manner as above for the Date – Walnut Balls.
The following recipe is from Jewish Spain. It is a celebration of
the almond, the first tree that blooms in Israel in the springtime.
Judeo-Spanish Dates Stuffed With Marzipan
- Pitted dried dates
- 5 ½ cups toasted, ground almonds
- ½ lemon
- 3 drops of almond extract
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1-cup water
Bring to a boil the water, sugar, and juice of ½ lemon in a saucepan.
Allow to boil for about 10 minutes. Add the almond extract and ground
almonds. Stir well for about 3 minutes.
Lubricate your hands with a little olive oil, so the paste does not stick to your fingers.
Stuff the dates with the almond paste.