Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Date, Caramel and Coconut Mess

Part of the reason I have launched Wanderment as my new blog is so that I can reorganize my life and thoughts a little bit amid the chaos of traveling. I am someone who likes structure. I like making lists and diagrams, organizing the shelves in my fridge, and color-coding my closet.

What can I say, I’m kind of a freak.

However, I think it’s important for everyone to try something that goes against their nature once in a while. Which is probably why I am in Tangier. This city is colorful, beautiful chaos. And part of me is driven completely crazy by it all and another part of me is in love. I love that people sing to themselves when they walk down the street. I love that no conversation is capable of sticking to just one language at a time. I love eating with a piece of bread in the place of a fork. I love that if I don’t have enough money with me, the shop keepers just say “That’s okay, take your food and pay me another day.” I love that cats eat the rest of your french fries  right off of your plate as soon as you’re full.

Basically, what I’m saying is Tangier has made me appreciate the beauty of mess more than ever. My new favorite dessert will stand as an homage to that. I cannot resist the mountains of dates in the markets here and there seem to be endless possibilities for their use. For this recipe, you just whip together the simplest of simple ingredients, grab some glasses, plop cream on top of caramel and voila, you have the perfect messy dessert for two.

Date, Caramel and Coconut Mess

makes two servings

For the coconut whipped cream:
2 cans of full-fat coconut milk, chilled in the fridge overnight
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

Open your cans of coconut milk- the milk should be separated into a thick cream on top and liquid on the bottom. Scoop out just the cream into a bowl and add sugar and vanilla. Whip with a whisk or a hand mixer until it is the fluffy consistency of whipped cream. I swear it's like magic.

For the date caramel compote:
1/3 cup water
400 g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter or vegan margarine

In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick, for about 10 minutes or until the dates fall apart and you have a caramel-y compote.

To assemble:
Layer large spoonfuls of coconut cream and compote into two glasses. Serve topped with chopped nuts and a sprinkling of cinnamon.


  1. That is one amazing looking mess.

    I also love that you quietly became un-vegan (I'm assuming since there's butter in the recipe)--no announcements, no angry readers. It's refreshing. In such a good way!

    1. Thank you, Jes! Haha I actually did use vegan butter in this recipe- but you're right, I have become slightly un-vegan. I still stay away from dairy because of my allergy, though!

  2. You know you have to love any dessert with the word "mess" in the title! Now I know what to do with the dates that are around week in & week out at our farmer's market. :)

  3. i love the bit about the cats! i always share my food with my little kitty :) this looks amazing! i'd love to try it!

    1. Thanks! And cats are the best dining companions :)