This fabulous date dessert with walnuts is so easy to make and mouthwatering. Known as Ranginak, this rich Persian dessert is full of walnut-stuffed dates and uses less sugar. Just a small piece is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
What is Ranginak?
You may not have heard of this Persian date dessert recipe, but it is a clever way of making something very satisfying and rich with minimal ingredients and preparation time.
This no-bake dessert is packed with dates and walnuts. Most of the sweetness comes from the dates and only a little bit of sugar is needed to sweeten the flour portion of the dessert.
And honestly, if you don’t tell anyone how easy it is to make this recipe, the appearance and taste of it will make people think that you have slaved for a long time.
Ranginak is especially popular during Ramadan, the fasting month when dates are abundantly consumed.
Date Dessert Ingredients
- Dates: I prefer to use medjool dates as they are easy to work with and also taste great.
- Walnuts: Good quality walnuts with a fresh taste is what we need.
- Flour: Traditionally all purpose flour is used. Try chickpea flour for a gluten free version as in Chickpea Cookies.
- Butter: Use grass fed butter or ghee if possible. To lower the amount of butter, check below the butter + oil variation.
- Confectioners Sugar: Also known as powdered sugar.
- Spices: Choose fresh cardamom and good quality cinnamon powder.
- Pistachios: I use bright green and flavorful unsalted pistachios.
How to Make it
Brief overview below. *Full recipe at the end of blog post.
- Stuff Dates: Fill pitted medjool dates with walnuts.
- Date Layer: Pack walnut-stuffed dates in a pie plate or cake pan.
- Toast Flour: Melt butter, add flour and stir until lightly toasted.
- Flour & Sugar: Pour the hot flour-butter layer over dates. Mix sugar with spices and sprinkle over flour layer.
- Pistachios: Top with ground pistachios.
- Cut and Serve: Let it set overnight and cut into pieces using a sharp knife.
- After adding the pistachio layer, pack it down well and smooth.
- Let the date dessert set overnight. The butter will permeate all layers, which will also help keep it together.
- Use a very sharp knife to cut smaller pieces. It is easy to press back together any separated layers.
This date walnut sweet is vegetarian, egg free and soy free.
- Vegan and Dairy Free: Try coconut oil instead of butter. But it will impart a different flavor.
- Gluten Free: Use the type of chickpea flour we chose for making the chickpea cookies.
- Nut Free: Replace walnuts with toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds but the crunch will not be the same. Another option is to use pretzels.
- Lighter and Healthier:
- Substitute butter with ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, but this option will not have the nutty flavor.
- You can also combine 7 tablespoons grass-fed ghee with 7 tablespoons neutral oil. This will give some nutty flavor while lowering saturated fat.
- Yet another option is to toast the flour using ½ cup oil or ghee, add ½ cup creamy nut butter and stir couple minutes until heated through. The final consistency of dough should be like a thin, smooth and spreadable nut butter.
- No Added Sugar: I have not tried it myself, but you may test replacing powdered sugar with sugar substitutes such as sucralose, allulose, stevia, etc. Before using, I also encourage researching the pros and cons of these substitutes on reputable sites.
How to Serve It
- Traditional: Ranginak is often served whole as a pie. And people cut a piece as per their liking.
- My Choice: I typically cut it into pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Gifts: You can place individual pieces in small paper cups and pack in gift boxes for sharing.
What to Serve with It
Some ideas for what to serve with this delicious date dessert.
- With beverages: Saffron Tea, Rose and Dried Fruit Homemade Tea, Black tea or Coffee.
- With a meal:
Once you master this no-bake dessert, it will become your go-to recipe for an easy and satisfying treat!
The dates can be stuffed with toasted walnuts ahead of time and kept ready.
Storage and Leftovers
Store this date dessert in airtight containers at room temperature for a week. Leftovers can be refrigerated. Ranginak also freezes very well. Make sure to wrap in parchment paper and pack in freezer safe containers.
This is a very rich dessert as it is made with lots of walnuts and butter. Although, a small piece is enough to satisfy. Be sure to check out lighter variations above.
Dates are high in fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6. They are rich in polyphenols with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So they are a great alternative to refined sugar.
Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, protein and antioxidants. They also provide some minerals — copper, manganese, magnesium. These nuts are highly recommended as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
More No-Bake Desserts
★ DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE COMMENT AND GIVE IT A STAR RATING BELOW!
Date Walnut Dessert Recipe (Ranginak)
- 4 cups medjool dates pitted, about 30
- 1½ cup walnuts broken into large pieces
- 1 cup butter unsalted
- 1¾ cups all purpose flour see note
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom fresh
- 1 cup pistachios ground or desiccated coconut, see note
- Apply butter to a 10 inch pie plate and line it with 3 parchment paper strips, overlapping and long enough to extend over the edge of the pan. Be sure to apply butter in between the strips. (Or use a springform cake pan lined with parchment paper in the bottom.)
- Heat the skillet at medium and toast walnuts for about 5 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.
- Pack the pitted dates with walnut pieces and arrange it in the pie plate. Press down on the soft dates to fill any large gaps.
- Melt butter in the skillet at medium heat. Add flour and toast it lightly, stirring continuously, about 15 to 20 minutes. The flour should acquire a very light tan, nutty flavor and a thin, smooth, spreadable consistency.
- Pour the hot flour-butter mixture immediately over the dates. Using a spatula spread it evenly and pack it into the date layer, filling any gaps.
- Combine powdered sugar, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom and sift it evenly over the hot dough.
- Then sprinkle ground pistachios in an even layer over the sugar and press it down lightly.
- Cover, let it cool and set overnight at room temperature. If desired, sift powdered sugar and/or cocoa powder in decorative patterns over the pistachio layer.
- Run a knife around the date dessert to loosen it from the pan. Using the parchment paper transfer it to a wooden board and cut pieces of the dessert with a very sharp knife. You may also cut the pieces inside the plate itself.
- Flour: Start with 1½ cups four and add as needed. The consistency of the flour + melted butter mixture should be like that of thin, smooth and spreadable nut butter.
- Gluten Free: Use the type of chickpea flour we chose for making the chickpea cookies.
- Butter: Try using grass fed butter or ghee. To lower the amount of butter, checkout the butter + oil variations in blog post above.
- Desiccated Coconut: This is unsweetened and available in several supermarkets, Indian and middle eastern grocery stores or online. Make your own if you prefer.
- Pistachios: Bright, green, whole or slivered Persian pistachios are available online.
- Make Ahead: The dates can be stuffed with toasted walnuts ahead of time and kept ready.
- Storage and Leftovers: Store in airtight containers at room temperature for a week. Refrigerate leftovers. To freeze Ranginak, wrap it in parchment paper and pack in freezer safe containers.
- For more information on ingredients, vegan/gluten-free/healthier variations and serving suggestions, scroll up the page to the blog post.
This lovely dessert would absolutely be delish! Thank you so much for posting. Pictures are beautiful
Hi Sherri, I made this dessert for a Persian Dinner that we hosted. Everyone loved the flavor, but I was disappointed that the flour/butter layer was very crumbly and hard to cut. I was wondering what I did wrong?
Since we are only using butter, flour, medjool dates (they are soft, not other dates) and walnuts, all of these should cut through easily. Only if we cook it with sugar it may harden. These days some store brands of butter are being sold with less percentage of fat due to higher prices. That may reduce the amount of fat we need to hold everything together and also the excess moisture may cook the flour differently. In that case, use only premium brand butter or ghee. As mentioned in the blog post, after pouring the flour-butter mixture, press down on it well, compact it and let it set overnight. You could even place a parchment paper on top and press down or place a slightly heavier object. Using the optimal type of butter and quantity should do it. Hope this helps :)
What beautiful dessert! I love walnuts so I know this will be high on my favorites list. Can't wait to make it!
The crunch of walnuts is amazing in this dessert!
This Ranginak looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it!
I have been loving cooking with dates lately so this is the perfect recipe for me!
Oh I love any dessert made with dates! And the spices in this sound amazing. Can't wait to try!
So true, the spices goes so well with the dates.
Loving the combo of dates & walnuts happening here! Looks delicious. :)