Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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And He it is who has caused waters to come down from the sky... Out of this do We bring forth close-growing grain; and out of the spathe of the palm tree, dates in thick clusters.
Date-Nut Balls
Council of the King of the Crows, Syria, 1200-1220. Click for complete painting.
Hais was served at the wedding banquet of Muhammad and Safiyya. This version is adapted from al-Baghdadi's recipe written in 1226 CE; he recommends it for travelers. The texture of hais improves with a time in a cool spot.
Total time: ½ hour
Enough stale bread for 5 cups of crumbs
1 cup finely ground almonds
1 cup finely ground pistachios
5 cups pitted dates (about 2-½ lbs.)
1 cup melted butter or mild sesame oil
Confectioner's or superfine sugar

Using a food processor or blender, pulverize enough stale bread to make 5 cups, then set aside. Finely chop the nuts, and set aside. Finely chop the dates, then add the nuts a bit at a time until all are incorporated; then add the bread crumbs in the same manner. Pour in the melted butter all at once and continue to process until the texture is smooth.

Roll into balls or fingers, dust with sugar, and let rest in a cool place before serving.