Nastar Kurma is an innovative take on the classic Indonesian Nastar tart, typically filled with pineapple jam. In this version, the tart is filled with dates, a fruit known for its natural sweetness and health benefits, such as being high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Dates are a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine and are especially popular during Ramadan and other festive occasions due to their nutritional value and natural energy-boosting properties.
Nastar, a contraction of the Dutch words ‘ananas’ (pineapple) and ‘taart’ (tart), is a small, round pastry traditionally filled with pineapple jam. In this version, the Kurma (date) variety provides a unique twist, adding a rich, caramel-like flavor to the tarts.
Selecting the Right Dates
The recipe specifically uses Sukkari dates, known for their soft, tender texture and exceptional sweetness. These dates are often referred to as the ‘queen’ or ‘king’ of dates and are a prized variety from Saudi Arabia. However, Tunisian dates can be used as a substitute due to their similar texture.
Ingredients and Their Significance
The recipe calls for a blend of butter and margarine, giving the tarts a rich flavor and delicate crumb. The addition of powdered milk enhances the creamy taste, while low-protein flour ensures a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Cornstarch is added to make the pastry crisp and light.
- Dates (Kurma): Sukkari dates, also known as the king of dates, are used for their superior quality and sweetness. They are soft, caramel-colored, and have a rich, sweet flavor. If Sukkari dates are unavailable, Tunisian dates can be a good alternative.
- Flour Selection: Low-protein flour (like Bogasari Kunci Biru) is recommended for a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Maizena or cornstarch is added to make the cookies crisper while still retaining softness.
- Butter and Margarine: A combination of both is used. Margarine gives a distinct aroma, and butter adds richness. Forvita margarine is a good economical choice, but you can also use higher-end options like Wijsman for a more luxurious taste.
- Milk Powder: Adds a creamy, milky aroma to the cookies. Dancow is a popular choice for its pronounced milky scent.
- Cheese: Cheddar cheese is used in both the dough and as a topping for an extra savory touch.