Oh, how underestimated the humble date is…. thankfully, it’s finally getting more appreciation lately thanks to vegan and raw diets becoming more popular, but that doesn’t mean it can’t feature proudly in a classic baked good. Exhibit A….
Date slice. No, not the prettiest of all at the bake sale or afternoon tea selection, but prettier than “fly cemeteries” and even more delicious. She’s a bit like the cousin you sometimes forget about but holds a dear place in your heart….
But anyway, here’s the recipe.
Base and Top:
1 cup roughly of dates, chopped
1 cup water
125g softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1&1/2 cups (or more) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Demerara sugar to top
Beforehand, make the filling. Cook the dates and water over low heat until smooth and like a paste (I did this on the fireplace actually…). When ready to bake, line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg well, adding a bit of the flour if it curdles. Mix the flour and baking powder together and mix into the butter mix. If you are using electric beaters, then you make have to take the dough out and do the last bit by hand. Add enough flour until a soft dough has formed. Divide in half. Roll out each half until it is 20cm by 20cm. Line the bottom of the tin with one piece. Spread the date mixture on top. PLace the other square of pastry on top. Sprinkle on the sugar. Bake about half an hour, until lightly browned (it doesn’t turn golden brown to be cooked, just lightly does it!). Cool slightly if you can wait, and cut. Makes about 20 squares, but as usual that depends on your bar size preferences 🙂
There is a very Kiwi Cafe style version that involves more of a pate sablee base and top, and has lemon icing on it….yum! Like Dilmah, do try it. Have a good day!