Fateerat Tamar Wa Joz (Date-Walnut Pie)

published Apr 1, 2022
Fateerat Tamar Wa Joz (Date-Walnut Pie) Recipe

Reem Assil's date-walnut pie is the perfect weekend baking project.

Serves8 to 10

Prep30 minutes

Cook2 hours

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Date and Walnut pie
Credit: Photo: Nader Khouri | Food + Prop Stylist: Jillian Knox

I grew up loving pecan pie, and this mixture of walnuts, dates, and spices is my homage to the legendary walnut pies that were made at Mission Pie, my predecessor at one of the locations of Reem’s California, my San Francisco restaurant. Lines formed around the corner for them as Thanksgiving approached each year.

Before we even opened our doors, people came knocking, asking if we had pie. Our displays of spinach, cheese, and meat turnovers weren’t quite what they had in mind. When the first holiday season rolled around, just as the pandemic was in full swing, we decided to find out what would happen if an Arab bakery provided a seasonal pie like the good ole days.

While we do not observe holidays tied to colonization, we felt some resonance with the beloved bakers at Mission Pie and with our own traditions growing up as Arabs, celebrating this odd holiday. This pie combines the spiced walnuts and dates of our holiday ma’amoul cookies, and the crust, with traces of mahlab, completes the parallel.

Fateerat Tamar Wa Joz (Date-Walnut Pie) Recipe

Reem Assil's date-walnut pie is the perfect weekend baking project.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 2 hours

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups

    plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground mahlab (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon

    granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 10 tablespoons

    cold unsalted butter, plus more for the pie dish

  • 1/4 cup

    cold orange blossom water

For the blossom syrup:

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    water

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons

    orange blossom water

For the filling:

  • 2 1/4 cups

    walnut halves

  • 1 cup

    dried Medjool dates (about 10)

  • 2 tablespoons

    melted unsalted butter

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup

    lightly packed brown sugar

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground cardamom

For the topping (optional):

  • 1 cup

    cold heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    orange blossom water

Instructions

Make the crust:

  1. Place 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon ground mahlab if using, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse a few times to combine.

  2. Finely dice 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter. Scatter over the flour mixture and pulse just until crumbly, about 10 pulses. While pulsing, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup cold orange blossom water and continue to pulse until the dough just begins to come together, about 20 pulses more. Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface and use your hands to bring the dough together. Flatten the dough into a 6-inch disk about 1 inch thick, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days. Meanwhile, make the blossom syrup and prepare the walnuts and dates.

Make the blossom syrup:

  1. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the syrup thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons orange blossom water and simmer for 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Start the filling:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 300ºF. Place 2 1/4 cups walnut halves on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and golden-brown, about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, pit and finely chop 1 cup dried Medjool dates (about 1 cup).

Blind bake the crust:

  1. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with unsalted butter. Lightly flour a work surface. Place the chilled dough on the work surface and roll out, starting from the center and moving gently and evenly in each direction. Continue rotating the dough in quarter turns between rolls, sprinkling flour on top and beneath at each turn, until about 12 inches wide and 1/8-inch thick. Do not overwork the dough and keep it cold, so the fewer the touches and the faster you work, the better.

  2. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and ease it onto the pie plate. Gently press the dough onto the surface of the plate, starting at the center and working up the sides. If the dough becomes sticky or too soft, refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up. Using kitchen shears or a knife, trim the excess dough from the edges. Crimp the edges by using the index finger from one hand to push the edges out into the groove between the index finger and thumb of the other hand.

  3. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 325ºF.

  4. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the bottom of the crust appears completely dry, 30 to 50 minutes. Remove the pie plate from the oven. Grasp the parchment and remove the parchment and pie weights from the crust. Let cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 350°F.

Make the filling:

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, melt on the stovetop and pour into a medium bowl.) Add all of the blossom syrup, 3 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Add 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, and whisk to combine. Add the walnuts and dates and fold until combined. Pour into the crust.

  2. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the filling is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes: If the crust is browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 300°F or cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil. Meanwhile, make the whipped topping.

Make the topping (optional):

  1. Place 1 cup cold heavy cream, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon orange blossom water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if whisking by hand or with an electric hand mixer). Beat on medium speed until thick and fluffy, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  2. Let the pie cool completely, about 4 hours. Serve topped with a dollop of the whipped cream.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The pie can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Reprinted with permission from Arabiyya: Recipes from the Life of an Arab in Diaspora by Reem Assil, copyright © 2022. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.