When I went to Sicily in 1993, it was the first time I really ever experienced fruit as the main ingredient- and sometimes the only ingredient- in a dessert. At first I was waiting around for the real dessert to please show up and perhaps this was just one of many courses at the end of the main lunch time meal? Alas, except for the occasional all-natural gelato that was acquired during a passiagata in the main square, no deep-dark chocolate cake or cheesecake or pound cake or ice cream cake of any sort was going to show up.
That changed the way I ate forever. It also began to change the way I thought about the notion of artificial sweetness, processed foods and how not to hide from real food.
That said, all these years later I’ve come to love to have fresh berries and stone fruits combined with all-natural honey and nuts as part of a more luxurious dessert.
Recently I was watching a travel show where the host visited North Africa – Morocco and Tunisia, in particular. I was so focused on the food that I honestly can’t remember now which host or name of the show it was, but I’ll try to look that up some time because it was a good one.
Anyway, in the show they featured a little humble restaurant that served what looked like the most amazing and beautiful and fresh seafood I’ve seen since I’ve been to Sicily. After the meal, they served this dish of pine nuts, honey and strawberries as a dessert.
It reminded me so much of the food in Sicily and the way I learned to enjoy dessert in a healthier, all-natural way when I was there that I immediately decided to try this combo myself. You don’t really need much of a ‘recipe’ other than having the best quality ingredients and putting them together, to taste. If you like it sweeter, add more honey; if not, add less.
I love this for suhoor, for iftar and/or for dessert any day of the year. If you prepare it and let it stand for about an hour at room temperature or a little longer in the refrigerator, you’ll notice the water come out of the strawberries and make the dish a little less thick, but it’s still quite enjoyable.
Alternate: you can make another version with almonds or walnut:
Bismillah, Buon Appetito, and Sahtein!
- 1 cup hulled and diced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup raw pine nuts
- 1/2 cup pure honey
- To a bowl, add the pine nuts and strawberries. Pour the honey over the two ingredients and gently fold the strawberries around so as not to crush them.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, although note that the juice from the strawberries may lighten up the dish significantly if it sits for a long period of time.