In addition to being highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants, fibres, minerals, and vitamins, dates are synonymous with Ramadan. Observed from 12th April until 12th May this year, Ramadan is an Islamic tradition where Muslims don’t eat or drink when it is light, ending their fast after sunset. Fasting teaches Muslims self-discipline and to be considerate of the poor who may go without food. During Ramadan, Muslims are also encouraged to spend more time with their family and friends, pray, and give up bad habits.
Native to the Middle East, dates were eaten by Prophet Muhammad, according to the Qur’an, to break His fast, and Muslims strive to live by His teachings. Fasting for a significant part of the day, between dawn and sunset, can also bring on headaches, low blood sugar levels, and fatigue, but by eating dates when breaking their fast, these ailments can be prevented, with dates providing a healthy source of nutrition, fibre, sugar, and carbohydrates. Due to the carbohydrate content, they also digest slower, ultimately leaving you fuller for longer.
According to reports from Traidcraft, supplier of biscuits, sales of dates skyrocket in the months leading up to Ramadan every year. In 2020, sales were around 39 percent higher than the months July to September. To tie in with Ramadan, Traidcraft have also shared a selection of date recipes for breaking the fast, including these filo pastry parcels filled with feta, couscous, and dates.
- 100 g butter
- Filo pastry sheets
- 150 g natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- Poppy seeds
- Pomegranate seeds for decoration
- 150 g feta
- 8-9 dates
- 1 cup couscous
- Boil a kettle and put a cup of boiling water on top of the couscous. Cover the couscous and let it sit for four minutes.
- Melt the butter.
- Cut the filo pastry sheets thinly and crumble some of the feta, roughly chopped dates, and couscous on top.
- Diagonally fold the top right of the pastry to the bottom left of the filling and wrap it with the bottom section of the filo, folding over the remaining pastry to form a triangle shape, leaving a flap at the bottom.
- Spread melted butter on the remaining flap to seal, and fold into the parcel.
- Cook in the oven for 25 minutes at 180C/Gas 4 until golden brown and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Mix the natural yoghurt and honey and eat the parcels with pomegranate seeds.
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