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Dates, walnuts and mascarpone

Serves 4

These are essentially little sweetmeats; perfect for this time of year. The intensely rich, caramel flavour of the dates sits beautifully against the nutty crunch of young wet walnuts.

Serves 4

8 good-quality plump sweet dates

8 tsp mascarpone cheese

8 young walnuts

Using a small, sharp knife, slice the dates down the middle in a horizontal movement. Carefully remove the seeds and spoon in a teaspoon of mascarpone. Smooth over the surface a little and gently slip in the walnut. Palate-cleansing mint tea is the perfect accompaniment.