Ranginak is a classic Persian dessert made of dates, walnuts and cinnamon. This sweet dessert is commonly served during the month of Ramadan.
Our Ramadan recipe collection offers delicious sweets from all over the Middle East. From luqaimat and qatayef to tahini date cake and stuffed dates, there are so many tasty desserts to choose from. Today I'm going to show you how to make ranginak, a Persian dessert that's undeniably delicious and easy to make.
Table Of Contents:
What Is Ranginak?
Ranginak is a classic Iranian dessert commonly made in the south of Iran where a variety of dates are grown and used on a daily basis. This dessert is made with dates, walnuts and a roux which is similar to Persian halva and kachi (halva pudding), making it perfect for the month of Ramadan to serve at Iftar, the meal Muslims have to break their fast.
Like many Middle Eastern desserts, there are various ways to make ranginak. The 2 most common ways to make ranginak are:
- Dates are stuffed with walnuts and arranged on a platter, then topped with a flour and butter roux. This is the method I'm sharing today since it's how I grew up eating it!
- A mixture of dates and walnuts is heated in a pan and transferred to a rimmed dish. Then the mixture is topped with the flour and butter roux.
- Dates: In Iran, this dish is made with rotab, which is a kind of date that's juicy and small. However, you can use medjool dates for this recipe since rotab isn't available everywhere.
- Walnuts: Shelled walnut quarters are used to stuff the dates.
- Flour: I use all purpose flour to make the roux but whole wheat flour works as well.
- Butter and oil: To cook the flour and make the roux, you need a combination of unsalted butter and neutral flavored oil. I used vegetable oil however canola or any other neutral flavored oil would work too.
- Cinnamon: To sprinkle on the dessert before it cools.
- Toppings: While optional, I prefer to top ranginak with a combination of ground pistachios, desiccated coconut and edible rose petals.
How To Make Ranginak
- Using a knife, cut open the date on one side, then take out and discard the seeds.
- Stuff each date with a piece of walnut. Then arrange them all on a plate in one single layer.
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the flour and cook while stirring constantly. The roux is ready once the flour mixture is deep golden brown and smells nutty. This would take 15 to 20 minutes.
- Carefully spoon the roux over the date and make sure they're all covered. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Let the ranginak sit for 10 minutes then top with the ground pistachios, coconut and rose petals.
Store the leftover ranginak in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. To serve, you can either let it come to room temperature or heat it in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Be careful, dates can get really hot once microwaved.
You can also freeze ranginak. Once it's completely cool, place it in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and let it come to room temperature before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Walnuts are the traditional addition to ranginak, however, you can try this recipe with pecans, almonds or cashews. Though the flavor might not be the same, it still can be good.
If cooked for too long or over high heat, roux can become bitter. If this happens, discard the roux and make a new batch. Watch it carefully as it can burn pretty quickly.
Yes, you can double or halve the recipe to suit your preferred number of servings.
Any kind of date that you use for this recipe should be chewy and large enough that you can stuff it with walnuts, For example, deglet noor dates won't work for this recipe because they're not chewy and meaty enough.
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Ranginak (Persian Date Walnut Dessert)
- 20 Medjool dates
- ¾ cup walnuts
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Ground pistachios
- Desiccated coconut
- Edible rose petals
- Using a knife, cut the dates open on one side. Take out and discard the seeds.
- Stuff the dates with the walnuts and arrange them on a plate in one layer. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a pan and add the butter. Add the flour and cook until it's brown and smells nutty, about 15 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid clumps and for the flour to cook evenly. Make sure not to overcook, otherwise the flour will burn and taste bitter.
- Spoon the flour mixture very carefully all over the dates and make sure they're all covered. Top with the cinnamon.
- Let ranginak sit for 10 minutes. Then top with ground pistachios, desiccated coconut and rose petals.
- While using anything beside walnuts isn't traditional, it's possible to stuff the dates with other nuts such as almonds, pecan or cashews.
- Medjool dates work best for this recipe because they're large, chewy and sticky.
- Keep a close eye when cooking the flour as it can burn quickly. Keep the heat on medium and patiently stir the mixture until it's deep golden brown.