Stuffed Dates & Prunes
- 1/2 lb. whole raw almonds
- 1/2 lb. confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 pasteurized egg whites
- 1 tsp. green food coloring
- 1 tsp. red food coloring
- 20 dried pitted dates and 20 dried prunes
To make the almond paste, begin grinding almonds into a powder in a food processor. Halfway through the grinding process, incorporate sugar, then continue grinding. When both ingredients are well mixed and the almonds are completely ground, add one egg white. The mixture should turn into a solid paste. If it doesn’t, add another egg white.
Split the paste into three balls and set them aside on wax paper. One of the balls will be colored red, one ball will be colored green, and one will be left natural (red and green are traditional French colors for the holidays). For the red and green balls, add the food coloring by hand in small drops until you achieve the desired color.
Cut a lengthwise slit down (but not through) the center of each date and prune, nearly to the bottom, leaving ends intact. Mold a heaping teaspoonful of almond paste into a football shape and stuff one inside each date or prune. Gently press sides of the fruit until the almond paste pushes up slightly above the top of the fruit. Do not overstuff. Repeat process for the rest of the dates and prunes, creating an equal number of fruits stuffed with red, green, and natural-colored almond paste.
Place the stuffed fruits on a tray with other fresh, seasonal fruits, such as grapes and oranges, and nuts, such as whole walnuts, hazelnuts, and/or almonds. Stuffed fruits can be kept tightly covered and refrigerated for the entire holiday season.
Chef’s Note: If you have leftover paste, make small balls and put half of a walnut on top. Almond paste can be frozen and used later.