Pumpkin Date balls were developed in my mind due to the fusion craze I hold. Transition of climate from summer to fall is one of the beautiful time of the year. Fall transports me to a whole new world of dreams, brings in a pleasantness and freshness in each day. I simply gets transgressed to the early fall days we spend in Chicago a couple of years back. It was a treat for the eyes which we do not get in this part of the world. The fall and winter mornings are also so unwinding in my homeland that this time of the year makes me homesick and a flow of memories of my childhood days usher in me.
It was Halloween time when we were in the US. Each and every place, not only the shops and homes were filled with pumpkins and the traditional Halloween masks, lanterns but also coffee shops, restaurants, bakeries fill with pumpkin flavored treats, from muffins, cakes, chocolates and things that were popular for this day. Modern Halloween comes from the Irish festival Samhain, an occasion that marked the passage from the summer harvest season to the dark of winter. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.
Around this time of the year, in India we also celebrate different festivals. Dusserah, drug Pooja, Mahanavami, diwali, Hijra New year and so on and so forth. This is when the idea of clubbing pumpkin and dates got into my mind. Doing fusion food has been a passion for me. Varieties of dishes based on pumpkin is made for Halloween which consists of mainly desserts and sweet based dishes. For us Indians, this is the time when we prepare the maximum sweet dishes and snacks. As pumpkin is to Halloween, so are ladoos to our festivities. Dates balls are a very popular snack and sweet dish.So giving them a twist was not an issue for me. Pumpkin and dates compliment each other very well.
I’ve added desiccated coconut and almond meal here in a pretty big amount. Condensed milk helps to cook the dates so that it remains fresh for several days and also adds to the flavor. If you want to make the process easier you can go in for the dates with mushy texture. I made fresh pumpkin puree with fresh bright orange ones. Chop roughly and add some water and cook in pressure cooker. You can add the pumpkin pie spice powder too when you cook the pumpkins and avoid while making the balls. Pumpkin puree will help in melting up the dates faster. I’ve added only little bit of sliced almonds for crunchiness as my sons do not prefer it. If your prefer some bite size dates to chew, do not mash it up fully.
So here I go with this fusion snack of mine which can be made in mutes and is a perfect gift for your loved ones. Since dates are considered to be one of the healthiest fruit, this should serve that purpose too.
Pit the dates and split it into 4.
Heat a non stick pan and add a dash of butter so that the dates do not stick to the pan.
Throw in the dates and heat it up as you saute it. Mash it up with your spatula.
Add the pumpkin puree now and mix well. Combine it well until it becomes a mushy texture. You can keep mashing it until you get the right texture of your choice.
Add the pumpkin pie spice powder now and keep mixing.
When the mixture becomes paste like add the condensed milk. Stir well.
Pop in the desiccated coconut followed by the almond meal. Combine everything homogeneously.
Saute till the mixture leave the sides of the pan and becomes sticky in nature. Switch off the stove.
Allow it to cool down a bit.
Roll into lemon sized balls and coat in desiccated coconut.
Wrap it in gift pack if you want to gift.
Enjoy and Happy Cooking!!!