Tahini is something that has always been a part of my life given my family’s Greek origins. I was born and raised in Australia, but things like tahini, vine leaves and pickled turnips were as normal to find on the kitchen cupboard shelves as the vegemite was. My Dad’s tahini sauce is one of the first flavours I remember, which is a bit sad to think on at the moment as he passed away this March. My parents are now both gone and it leaves me cherishing memories like that. My Mother was the most incredible cook and I love having a stash of her recipes that my sister and I share, but I no longer eat most of the meals I grew up on due to food intolerances. I do however use a number of the ingredients in more, lets say creative, ways.
Tahini is on the sometimes list for histamine intolerant types, but I still have it just about daily. I can’t say I’ve noticed it causes me any great issues, but I eat as low histamine as possible so perhaps that’s why. Tahini is made with one very simple ingredient…. sesame seeds. It is also high in calcium and a good source of protein. There are two types of tahini too, one is hulled, which is lighter in colour and flavour and the other unhulled, which is much darker and very rich in flavour. Actually there are three these days now I think on it. There’s also a black tahini that has a stronger flavour again. I love it, but not sure it’s for everyone.
Whether to choose hulled tahini over the unhulled variety is an interesting question. Hulled means the husks of the sesame seed are removed while unhulled means they’re still intact. Unhulled tahini has something like 95 times more calcium than hulled tahini but oxalic acid is found in the husks of the sesame seed and it can inhibit the absorption of minerals such as calcium and iron. This makes some say that you may not even absorb much of that extra calcium and you’re better off with the small amount in the hulled tahini. We definitely know that oxalic acid binding minerals is true, but try as I might I can’t find any evidence to say the huge amounts of extra calcium in the unhulled variety remains unabsorbed. To make matters worse, some health professionals vote for the hulled variety while others vote for the unhulled. I think 95 times more calcium is a lot, and I think it’s difficult to believe that it’s all unavailable to us but I will certainly keep researching that one because if you’re eating all that calcium you want to be absorbing it! I have chosen the hulled tahini for this recipe mostly for taste purposes as the unhulled would be quite strong and far less sweet.
When buying tahini my brand of choice is Mayvers. They are an Australian company that focus on providing wholesome food with good ingredients and I don’t think you can beat that. It’s also organic, so you can be sure there are no added nasties to be found in the product. Also, if you haven’t used tahini before, a quick tip is it needs a really good stir in the jar before use because all the oil from the seeds rises to the top and the paste sinks to the bottom. If you don’t mix it your first mouthful is likely to be mostly oil while your last will be quite gritty and thick. I stir mine every time I open the jar to keep it just right.
I haven’t told my husband what’s in these because he doesn’t like dates and he’ll be scarred for life if he found out (even though they’re in most of the desserts I make him). He thinks they are caramel chocolate with a squishy filling…. and I didn’t say they weren’t. I hope you enjoy them, I’ve just eaten two while writing this post so I know I do! <3
Coconut tahini cups with a creamy date filling
Ingredients for coconut tahini cups
Ingredients for creamy date filling
- 10 dates, pitted
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- ¼ tsp salt (more or less depending on how salty you’d like the creamy date filling)
- Note: You can just soak the dates in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes if you’d prefer. If you do that you won’t need the boiling water when blending and they will cream up a little faster. I always seem to forget to do this and want to start the recipe. No patience, which is why I use the dates with boiling water!
- Place all the silicon moulds on a small tray so they’re easier to place in the freezer
- Melt the coconut oil, tahini and maple syrup over a low heat until completely liquified. It will need a bit of a stir to get any lumps out of the tahini
- Remove from the heat and stir in the desiccated coconut
- Pour a small amount into each mini muffin mould. I tend to cover about 1/3 or so of the mould. This is your base so you don’t want it too thin. You should be using a little more than half of your tahini mix, the rest will be for the top layer
- Place in the freezer for 15 mins to firm up
- While the base is in the freezer start on the creamy date filling
- Place dates, boiling water and salt in a blender and blend until the dates become creamy. You will need to stop blending and scrape down the sides a few times for this to happen. It took me about 2 mins in the thermomix. More or less time may be needed so focus more on what the dates look like than the time taken
- Once the dates are blended and the tahini bases have firmed up, put a dollop on top of the tahini base and smooth out. The dates can be sticky so I like to have a mug of hot water beside me to dip the teaspoon in, which helps make spreading out the date paste much easier
- Once all the date mix has been added and smoothed out, pour the rest of the tahini mix over the top. If you find it’s solidified a little just put it back on a low heat for a minute. Once the last tahini layer has been added, sprinkle with some extra desiccated coconut, then put the moulds back in the freezer for 30 mins or until solid. Enjoy!
These should be stored in and eaten straight from the freezer
* I thought it worth noting I’m not much of a silicon fan so use it as little as possible. It’s also worth noting that is a completely un-researched comment. There’s just something about cooking in it that doesn’t sit well with me so I need to do my homework there, which I will do. I’m less concerned about making raw treats in it but still don’t use it often there either.