This dessert dish is from Southern Iran, known as Ranginak. It's traditionally made in a platter, with layers of walnut stuffed dates topped with a layer of dark, buttery roux and served like a slice of pie. I, however, like to stuff the dates individually, treating them more like energy bites or that sweet morsel paired with your afternoon tea.
We used Mazafati or Bam dates for this recipe, which are my absolute favorite. They are an Iranian variety and may be harder to get your hands on. These dark, sweet dates have a higher moisture content than Medjool dates, are quite fleshy, and melt in your mouth like spun toffee. For this recipe, any soft date variety will do.
A dozen dates of your favorite soft variety
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour, plus an additional tablespoon
A small handful of walnut halves or quarters (one for each date)
3 cardamom pods
"Butterfly" the dates, cutting down the middle but not through. Remove the pits and set aside on a plate or dish.
Add three cracked cardamom pods to a non-stick skillet with the butter over low heat.
Once the butter is completely melted and is gently bubbling, add the cinnamon and flour, one tablespoon at a time, whisking thoroughly in between.
Stir continuously on low-med heat until the color deepens to a caramel tone, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the cardamom pods.
Spoon the hot roux into each date, followed by a walnut piece. You can use a half or quarter walnut for each date.
Drizzle remaining roux again on top and sprinkle with powdered rose petals, crushed pistachios, or shredded coconut. Allow a few minutes to slightly cool before eating.