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Date and Nut Pastries

ingredients

makes 35-40
450 g (1 lb) 4 cups plain flour
225 g (8 oz) l cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
45 ml (3 tbsp) rose-water
60 - 75 ml (4 - 5 tbsp) milk
icing sugar, for sprinkling

for the filling

225 g (8 oz) l 1/4 cups dates, stoned and chopped
175 g (6 oz) l 1/4 cups walnuts, finely chopped
115 g (4 oz) 3/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
120 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup water
115 g (4 oz) 1/2 cup sugar
10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. First make the filling: place the dates, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, water, sugar and cinnamon in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until the dates are soft and the water has been absorbed.

2. Place the flour in a large bowl and add the butter, working it into the flour with your fingertips.

3. Add the rose-water and milk and knead the dough until it's soft.
Take walnut-size lumps of dough. Roll each into a ball and hollow with your thumb. Pinch the sides.

4. Place a spoonful of date mixture in the hollow and then press the dough back over the filling to seal.

5. Arrange the pastries on a large baking tray. Press to flatten them slightly. Make little dents with a fork on the pastry. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Do not let them change colour or the pastry will become hard. Cool slightly and then sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

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