Dates are the fruit of the Date Palm tree. Perhaps nothing but the fig has such a rich heritage. Dates have been eaten for the past 6000 years, at a minimum. They were originally a Middle Eastern delight but have been found to grow well in the western U.S., as well. They grow particularly well in Arizona, which is why I know anything about them. For as long as I’ve been visiting, there has been a funky little storefront in Scottsdale called the Sphinx Date Ranch. They have great dates. My mom, who has a habit of sourcing the best foods you can get in this country, loves to get dates from The Sphinx Date Ranch, and she recently sent a big box of Medjool Dates to me. I’ve tried several recipes, but this simple treat is the best so far. She has been making these meaty and sweet little bites for parties for years. And, to my delight, this is the thing my mother remembers from her own childhood that her mother made consistently at Christmas-time.
You need as many pecan halves as you have Medjool Dates. Slice the date lengthwise and open it up enough to remove the pit. Replace the pit with a pecan half and gently close the date around the pecan, pressing the date back together at the cut edges. When you have done this with all of the dates, sprinkle them with a bit of confectioners’ sugar. They are also quite fine without the sugar if you are simply looking for an easy snack.