Apicius 296


Dulcia domestica

Palmulas uel dactilos excepto semine, nuce uel nucleis uel piper tritum infercies. Sales foris contingis, frigis in melle cocto et inferes.



Homemade sweets

Remove the kernels from dates, stuff them with a nut or some pine-kernels or ground peper. Sprinkle with salt on the outside, fry them in honey and serve.




This is meant to be a surprising item in a range of sweets to be served as mensae secundae and not very hard to prepare: whereas most Roman pastry and teh like were made by specialised pastry-cooks, this recipe can be made at home.
The recipe speaks of two different kinds of dates, but nowadays only one kind is available, at least where I live. Just make a small incision to remove the seed and replace it with the quarter of a walnut or some pine-kernels. Ground pepper didn't seem attractive enough to me to make me try it, but do feel free to do so. Use salt sparingly, but don't omit it: this combination of sweet and salty is about as Roman as one can imagine.
For 'frying' I used a frying-pan with just a few tablespoons of runny honey. Do not let it evaporate too much, for that will produce a very tough sweet after cooling off. Serve them warm, but not hot, if you like. Add a pinch of pepper after all...