For filling, combine all ingredients in a pot and bring up to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often until dates have absorbed liquid and is thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature and remove cinnamon sticks.
For crust, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in egg and sour cream. In a separate bowl, combine flour, anise seed and salt and add to butter mixture. Mix just until dough comes together. Shape into 2 discs, wrap and chill for 20 minutes.
For cream cheese, beat cream cheese until smooth, then stir in sugar and vanilla and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out first disc to just under ¼-inch thick and line a 9-inch removable-bottom tart pan, trimming edges. Spread cream cheese evenly on bottom of tart shell. Dollop date filling over cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Roll remaining pastry disc to ¼-inch thick and cut 12 strips, each ¾-inch wide. Lay six pastry strips over date filling, spacing evenly across tart. Lay remaining six strips crosswise over first layer of strips and trim excess dough from edges. Brush pastry with egg wash and bake tart on a baking tray for 40 to 50 minutes, until a rich golden brown. Cool tart for at least an hour before serving.
Tart can be served chilled or at room temperature.
Yield: 1 9-inch square fluted tart pan. Makes 9 to 12 servings.