Cocoa Date Pie

  • Serves

    serves 6


Maltese cuisine incorporates many influences, including Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Similarly, cocoa comes from tropical climes, while the date is grown in arid lands. This cocoa date pie, then, is like Malta itself—a flavorful mix of cultures, sweetness, and spice.


For the Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 23 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the Filling

  • 1 lb. pitted dates, chopped
  • 12 cup milk
  • 12 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. sambuca
  • 12 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


Step 1

For the pie crust: Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or rub in with fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Drizzle in egg and 1–2 tbsp. ice water, mixing with a fork, and knead until dough just holds together. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 1 hour.

Step 2

For the filling: Soak dates in milk and 1⁄2 cup water in a medium bowl for about 20 minutes. Combine cocoa, orange juice, sambuca, walnuts, orange zest, and sugar in a medium sauce-pan. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes, stirring as sauce thickens. Cool slightly; add to date mixture, and stir in eggs.

Step 3

Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into two 12" circles. Line a 9" pie pan with one circle and pour in filling. Cover with top pastry, press edges together, and cut vents in top. Bake till golden brown, 45–50 minutes. Allow to cool, sprinkle with sugar, if desired, and serve.

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