Moses In The Basket (Moshe b'Tayva):
Medjool dates are very large, usually found in Middle Eastern
stores, and should be tender to the touch and moist inside.
Substitute another date if necessary. Your Moshe will be smaller but
just as sweet.
The ingredients are 14 to 16 large Medjool dates,
a few drops rose water or almond extract, 1 to 2 teaspoons hot water
To make marzipan, use 3 ½ ounces (a slightly
rounded half-cup) almond slivers or whole blanched almonds, ground,
2/3 cup powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon "Kosher for Passover" vanilla
For garnish: 1/4 cup crushed, toasted, unsalted pistachio nuts,
whole cloves as needed and coriander seeds or mustard seeds (for the
To prepare: Slit the dates lengthwise, and remove pits. Set aside.
Grind the almonds in a food processor to a powder consistency. Add
the sugar, and, with the machine running, add the vanilla, rose
water or almond extract, and 1 teaspoon hot water. The mixture
should come together like a ball. If not, add another 1 to 2
teaspoons water, but be careful not to add too much or the marzipan
will be too soft. For each little Moshe, make a small ball of
marzipan for the head and an elongated oval-shaped piece for the
body. (The total length should be slightly smaller than the length
of a date.)
Roll the body in the crushed pistachio nuts. Attach the head to the
body and stick the whole in one of the dates, gently pressing the
sides of the date around them to make him snug. Round the top and
the bottom with a gentle pinch, to make a little boat.
To make the eyes, use the tip of a whole clove to pierce 2 holes in
the "head." (We considered using cloves for the eyes themselves but
were afraid of a lawsuit from anyone not removing them before
eating.) Stick a coriander seed in each hole (these are both edible
and healthful), and Moshe is ready to float to his destiny. Makes
"The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking"