Dates: I don’t like fresh ones. I don’t like whole ones. I once, however, ate a pudding of tiny deep fried pastries filled with pulped dried dates and chocolate, accompanied by some sort of pale ice cream. This dessert lives with me, it haunts my dreams and one day, I will recreate it. Until then, I shall raid the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Cookery Compendium’s ‘Small Fancy Cakes’ section (Waverley 1955).
4oz rolled oats
Grated rind of lemon
2 – 3 tbps. Water
Put the flour, oats and sugar into a basin. Melt the margarine, add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Chop the dates, put with the grated lemon rind and the water into a pan and heat until the mixture is of a soft consistency. Spread half the dry mixture over the bottom of a Swiss roll tin, spread with the date mixture, and sprinkle the rest of the dry ingredients on top. Bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees F) for 1 hour. Turn out on a flat board, and when quite cold, cut into fingers or triangles.
- I halved the quantities
- I decided to use Demerara sugar
- The whole thing was obviously not going to stick together. The dry mixture was obviously very dry. I followed the instructions to the letter and ‘sprinkled’ the topping on, rather than flattening it down into the date layer
- It came out of the oven flaky and pale. If I had tried to turn it out on to a board it would have fallen to bits. I cut a bit out and ate it – it was crumbly and a little bland. I rescued it by melting down some more sugar and butter and because I had gone off-recipe already, some cinnamon. Then I poured this over the top and baked it for another 20 minutes
I speculate that this recipe would work if the sugar and fat were melted together like a flapjack. The oven was simply not hot enough to completely melt the sugar. My end result was a biscuit-y bottom layer, a chewy middle layer, (very similar to mince) and a crispy topping. Also, they store very well – over 2 weeks.
Dated by Elly