Spiced date dip













There is a curried cream cheese dip circulating the German party scene since several years and for a while you could not escape a version of Sultans Freude (= Sultan’s delight*) anywhere. Luckily, in food as in fashion fads disappear and good things are periodically rediscovered and reborn as new classics. Here’s my plea for this warm curry-spiced date dip to return to this seasons party buffets since it is a perfect companion to most of the autumnal fare around. Think pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, parsnips, topinambur, beets, root vegetables and spiced breads like zucchini bread, banana bread – its clever seasoning & subtle sweetness allows it to oscillate easily between savoury and sweet dishes.Curry (I use a mild Madras curry here) for me is a perfect autumn flavour, it is warm, complex, woodsy and has a spicyness that results from the mixture of many spices and not screaming hot chillies and it resembles the orange-gold-yellow leaves outside.

My cousin introduced me to this dip with a layered version, which is a feta free affair and I agree with leaving out the feta cheese for once to concentrate on the oriental spices and dates. That said, I forgo the layers here and mix everything together for the same reason: the gorgeous flavours have time to develop & mingle and the seeds to soften. If you want to give the layers a go just alternate cream cheese layers with a sprinkling of the spices & olive oil, chopped dates and Nigella seeds. Dig into the bowl with your chosen vehicle (or spoon) to unearth all the flavours.

*Do not confuse with Sultan’s delight, a classic Turkish dish of lamb and aubergine although they possibly go well together.




Spiced date dip


175g / 6 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon milk or cream
8 dates (Deglet noor), stoned & finely chopped
olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon paprika (sweet)
¼ teaspoon curry powder (Madras)
a scant ⅛ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Nigella seeds, dry toasted in a pan (keep some for decoration)

Whisk cream cheese and milk (or cream) until smooth and mix with chopped dates, a dash of olive oil, spices and salt. Fill into a serving bowl and sprinkle a few Nigella seeds on top. Chill to firm up the dip.

For the layered version cover half the cream cheese with half of the spices, olive oil, dates & Nigella seeds and add a second layer of the same on top.


Deutsches Rezept:

Spiced date dip

Würziger Datteldip (Sultans Freude)

175g / 1 Packung Frischkäse (Zimmertemperatur)
1 EL Milch oder Sahne
8 Datteln (Deglet noor), entsteint & fein gehackt (wiegen ca. 65g)
¼ TL gemahlener Koriander
¼ TL gemahlener Kreuzkümmel
¼ TL gemahlener Ingwer
¼ TL Paprika (edelsüß)
¼ TL Currypulver (Madras)
⅛ TL Salz
1 EL Schwarzkümmelsamen, trocken in der Pfanne geröstet (einige zur Dekoration zurückbehalten)


Frischkäse und Milch (oder Sahne) zu einer glatten Crème verrühren und mit den gehackten Datteln, einem Spritzer Olivenöl, Gewürzen und Salz verrühren. In eine Schüssel füllen und mit ein paar Schwarzkümmelsamen garnieren. Kühl aufbewahren, damit der Frischkäse wieder etwas fester wird.

Für die Schichtversion dieses Dips gerührten Frischkäse mit einer Schicht der Gewürze, ein Spritzer Olivenöl, Datteln und Schwarzkümmelsamen (halbe Mengen versteht sich) bedecken und mit einer zweiten abschließenden Schicht ebenso verfahren.



15 thoughts on “Spiced date dip

  1. Oh my goodness, this looks delicious. Dates and cream cheese with warm spices. I need to hang out on your party scene. I’ve never seen a lovely homemade dip like this one. So simple and yet so flavorful. Perfect for the season. I think a lot of people shy away from curry because in certain cuisines it can be over powering, but here and in soups, if used sparingly, it just brings out the warmth and enhances the natural flavors of the other ingredients. I find that cinnamon and cumin do the same. So warm and seasonal.

  2. A very unique dip! I love the sweet and savory aspect of it. And I can not get enough curry these days. I think it is because, like you said, it is perfect autumn flavour, it is warm, complex and woodsy…I am very intrigued with this dip. Perfect for this time of year.

  3. Nicole, I love this dip and always buy it from a Turkish guy at the farmer’s market when I am in Germany. I looked for madras curry today and couldn’t find it. All we have in the stores is regular curry. I can’t wait to make it.

  4. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Like Amanda, I need to hang out on your party scene! There is a Southern layered dip that I always love, with layers of pimento cheese and spinach and something that’s much like this (without the seeds and dates). I know it sounds strange, but it’s really good.

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