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LOW-FAT BAKING

Hot Dates

May 20, 1993|DONNA DEANE | TIMES FOOD STYLIST

These crisp and delicate pastries go well with lemon ice; together they make a great hot-weather dessert that has almost no fat.

To keep the fat out, sheets of filo are sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray. Real butter is added as a final touch just before the pastries are put into the oven, which gives them a buttery bite but does not add a lot of fat. The pastries have less than 1 gram of fat apiece.

The date filling also contains no fat. To give them the kind of crunchiness that nuts would normally provide, puffed rice cereal is added to the mix.

DATE BITES 1 1/2 cups cut-up pitted dates 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup oven-toasted rice cereal 8 sheets filo dough Butter-flavored non-stick cooking spray Melted butter Powdered sugar

Combine dates, water and sugar. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil and stir 5 minutes or until mixture mounds. Stir in lemon juice. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla and rice cereal.

For triangle shapes, spray 1 sheet filo dough with butter-flavored non-stick cooking spray. Top with second sheet of filo and spray again. Cut into 6 strips crosswise. Cut each strip in half to make 12 strips.

Spoon scant 1 teaspoon date filling at top corner of each strip. Fold up "flag" style to make triangle. Place on baking sheets. Lightly brush tops of each with butter. Bake at 375 degrees 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Makes about 4 dozen pastries.

Each pastry contains about: 36 calories; 15 mg sodium; 1 mg cholesterol; trace fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.12 gram fiber.

Note : For date logs, use same procedure as above, cutting filo dough crosswise into 8 strips. Cut each strip in half to make 16 and roll up in log shape.

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