Balah (fresh dates) jam & Mabroosheh ( Jam bars)

Once winter starts...all the cravings for anything sweet start too. I don't know why but I am sure it has something to do with how warm sweets make you feel. Its about having coffee or tea with a piece of cake, a cookie or even a jam sandwich. And the best part is to use what is in season to make these goodies. Balah (fresh dates before they are dried and ripened), is saturating the Jordanian market these days, so I did buy a huge amount. We love it raw as a great snack (we treat it like a piece of fruit as it is). I made the balah upside down cake and I had some leftover so I decided to make Balah Jam. There are many of forms of this jam, I did see a recipe where it was stuffed with almonds and made into a jam where you eat it as a dessert. The balah stayed whole, no pureeing was done. But for me, I wanted something easy, less work and delicious at the same time so I decided to make my own version that did not require peeling the balah. (If you wish to do that, just choose ripe balah and peeling is easy). For me, I used what I had on hand and made this.

It is so sweet and I added cinnamon to it so it really makes a great spread over toast. 

Here is the recipe

Balah Jam
1 kilo sweet balah, pitted
1/4 kilo sugar (balah is very sweet so you don't need that much sugar)
2 cinnamon sticks
Juice of half a lemon

Mix balah and sugar and let them sit over night in the pan where you will cook the jam.
In the morning, put the pot on medium high heat (you should have some liquid which came out of the balah sitting over night). Bring to a boil and stir to ensure that the sugar is dissolved. Add the cinnamon sticks and let it cook over low heat till balah is very soft. Add lemon juice and let it cook for another 5 min. Take off the heat and let it cook a bit.
In a blender, puree the mixture and fill your sterilized jars.

And to give you a better idea on how to use this, here is my recipe for jam bars, Mabroosheh as we call it in the Middle East. Mabroosheh means grated and the reason it is called this way, its becasue we grate the dough to top the bars and give a nice look to it. Usually I use any kind of jam to fill out the bars but this time I thought of using balah jam for a very warm twist.  

Mabroosheh Al balah (Balah Jam bars)
200 grams butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour (if the dough feels too soft add another 1/4 cup)
4 leavened tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of balah jam (or any jam)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (this is an addition as I used balah jam, if using strawberry don't use it, but I think this would be nice with apple jam too)

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla, beat well.
Add flour mixture and mix.
Take 2/3 the dough and spread in a greased 9 inch square pan evenly. 
Spread the jam on top and try to avoid having jam on the edges as it will burn.
Grate the rest of the dough using a grater on top of the pan.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 c or 175 c for 25-30 minutes till lightly golden brown.
Let it cook off a bit then cut into bars.

مع اجواء الشتاء بنصير مشتهيين الاشياء الحلوة دايما...مع كباية الشاي ولا فنجان القهوة. والشطارة هي استخدام الاشياء اللي بموسمها لنعمل حلويات زاكية ومفيدة كمان. هلأ البلح معبي السوق...انا جبت كمية وعملت كيكة البلح  واكلنا منه عادي زي ما هو وزاد كمية فقررت اني اعملها مربى. في طرق كتير لمربى البلح في منها بتضل الحبة كاملة وبينحط لوز بدل النوى وفي منها بتنهرس بس بيتقشر البلح. طبعا لاني بحب الاشياء تصير اسهل قررت اني ما اقشر البلح واعمله مربى عادي واطحنه. وضفت قرفة فصار عندي مربى رائع بيندهن على خبزة محمصة بيشهي...زي النيوتيلا بس افيد بالف مرة...

مربى البلح
كيلو بلح حلو مزال التوى
1/4 كيلو سكر (لانه حلو كتير)
2 عود قرفة
عصير نصف ليمونة

يوضع البلح مع السكر بطنجرة لمدة ليلة كاملة
يوضع على نار عالية ويحرك ليذوب السكر. يضاف عودي القرفة وتخفض الحرارة ويترك ليستوي البلح تماما.
يضاف عصير الليمون وتترك لتغلي 5 دقائق ويرفع ويترك ليبرد قليلا.
يطحن بالخلاط لينعم.
يعبأ بمرتبانات معقمة ويحفظ.
يمكن مضاعفة الكمية بالتأكيدز

ولانه بدي اشارككم وصفة بمربى البلح عملت مبروشة وهي الطريقة

مبروشة البلح
2 اصبع زبدة بحرارة الغرفة
كوب سكر
1/2 2 كوب طحين (ممكن اضافة 1/4 كوب طحين اذا حسيتي العجينة رخوة شوي)
1/2 ملعقة صغيرة قرفة (اذا استعملتوا نوع ثاني من المربى لا تحطوا قرفة)
4 ملاعق صغيرة بيكنغ باودر
رشة ملح
بيضة مخفوقة
2 ملعقة صغيرة فانيلا
كوب مربى بلح

يخلط الطحين والملح والبيكنغ باودر والقرفة
تخفق الزبدة والسكر لتصبح خفبفة القوام
تضاف البيضة والفانيلا وتخفق جيدا
بضاف الطحين وتخلط لتصبح عجينة متماسكة (لا تزيدي في العجن)
تدهن صينية وتفرد 2/3 العجينة كطبقة متساوية
تفرد المربى
يوخذ الجزء الباقي ويبشر على الوجه
توضع في الفرن على حرارة 175-180 لغاية ما يصبح القاع ذهبي ونحمر الوجة قليلا...حوالي 25-30 دقيقة


  1. such a genius idea to use balah and I gotta agree I crave sweets much more in the winter time, yum.

    1. Thanks Shosho always for your kind comments...try the is better than nutella...hehehe if you love dates and balah

  2. Manal this is brilliant, I pinned it already days ago! Never thought of fresh date, I should tell my mom about it!

    1. Knowing how healthy you are Farida..I think this is the jam for you considering all the nutrition in Balah..thanks for your kind comment

  3. These look really really good...I love dates and this sounds divine!

    1. Thank you Wajeeha..I have a confession...I can't resist the food you post on your blog...just mouthwatering....:) thanks for stopping by

  4. I saw some fresh dates at a South Asian store I shop at - I had no clue what to do with them, so I skipped over them - but I've got to go back and get me some as this jam looks mouthwatering!

    1. Shashi...we eat them just like fruit..they are delicious...I hope you will be able to find them again and try them straight up or convert them to cake or jam :) Thanks for stopping by

  5. I love sweets in every season, but you are right, I don't crave dates in the summer, rather water-y fruits like waterhings like watermelon and such, when in the cold autumn/winter months I want sweeter treats like caramel, chocholate and jam. And these sound delicious! (And btw your photos are gorgeous I can so see them in an athmospheric cooking magazine! :-)

  6. This jam sounds really delicious! I am sure the bar tastes incredible too! I haven't tried fresh dates before. If I can find some, definitely will try this.

  7. The jams sounds wonderful as well as the bars do too. I can eat sweet year round and these would be perfect at anytime.

  8. What a great recipe! I've always like dates but never knew what exactly to do with them! Now, I know.


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