Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hard Work Pays Off...and a Date Tart That Rocks

Last Friday I delivered my first presentation in my MA career. Due to the fact that there was a shortage of classes on offer for art history, I decided to take a course on language and cultural identity with one of our university's best and most respected professors. Last year I was privileged enough to take a course with him on art and cultural identity and it was one of the most rewarding classes I have taken. He's a brilliant, witty man and he's the writer of one of my favorite art books on Dutch and Flemish art, "Een en toch apart".

Anyhow, I decided to do my research on the emancipation of Afrikaans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I started off by panicking when I saw that most of the interesting books that could be used for this subject were in Afrikaans! The language developed from 17th century Dutch so it wasn't so much that I didn't understand it, but rather that it was very tiring to read entire pieces of research in a language which I was not used to. Still, I'm not complaining. After reading at least ten books of 300 some odd pages each in Afrikaans, I now feel pretty comfortable with the language and am even looking forward to reading my first Afrikaans novel, "Fiela se Kind" (thanks Karin!) as soon as I am through with this course. I think another reason why I found the research so difficult was because we only had about two months to prepare...and that, at a Masters level, knowing it was for my much respected professor, was no picnic! There were days when I put Kirstie to bed and immediately went upstairs to work, until past midnight if necessary, but in the end all my work payed off.

My presentation was very well-received and the professor complimented me on my work. I left school with a huge smile on my face and even treated myself to some excellent sushi for lunch as a reward. When I came home that afternoon, I made myself a lovely date tart to celebrate. I had a slice of this heavenly creation one sunny afternoon on the terrace of Bagels & Beans and I was set on making something similar...until I found the original recipe! Do try it and please, have a good chai latte along with it.

In the end all hard work pays off!

Here's the recipe for the celebratory tart:

Bagels & Beans Date Tart (makes 2):

* 1500g chopped dates
* 750g butter
* 300g brown sugar
* 2 packs Maria cookies, broken in pieces of about 1
cm (digestives)
* 200g whole eggs (or 4 eggs)
* coconut for sprinkling

1. Gently melt butter
2. Add sugar
3. Beat eggs and add. Cook briefly while stirring constantly.
4. Add dates and cook for one minute
5. Add cookies and mix well.

Put everything in a greased tart mold and leave 1 1/2 hours in the fridge to cool before cutting. The tart should be 1 1/2 cm thick.

Serve with orange slices and grated coconut.

NOTE: I only made 1/4 of this recipe and it gave me about 10 slices. You can only manage to eat a little bit! I also used less sugar.


Lisa said...

Wow -- you amaze me. I could never do half of what you do. I am so happy for you and think you should feel very proud of yourself. I can't believe that after all that, you went home an made a tart! My hat is off to you. Congratulations!!

Kelly-Jane said...

Well done Paola :) and you came home and managed to bake, fabulous!