When I was expecting Daughter No1 I had a visit from Big Bro with my delightful Niece No4, who was 14 months old at the time. I made a tray of these as I thought they would be a nice treat we could all enjoy over a cuppa. Big Bro was talking about how my Niece No4 was going through a phase of not eating. Well you can probably guess what happened next. We had to restrain her from finishing the entire plateful. I was really pleased as Big Bro was anxious about her refusal to eat and I thought we had had a break through on that day ……However 2 days later I had a call from Big Bro, Sis In Law was none to pleased with the resulting multiple well filled nappies that were the inevitable result. (tee hee hee hee hee)
I had a frantic phone call on Monday – Daughter No1 needs to come home from Uni for a few days……..Hurray!
And of course she started talking about the foods she has been dreaming about eating whilst she is home, and this is one of her all time favourites. She used to make these on a regular basis when she was at home. It is a nice straight forward recipe. The original recipe is from the fabulous Cranks recipe book (circa 1967 Soho London).
Their’s is a wholemeal recipe, delightfully typical of that time, but of course I have tweaked it and made it my own.
I do prefer mine, it has more complexity of flavour and I like it being Vegan and Gluten & Wheat Free as it is kinder to the digestion. But if you like you can use butter and wheat flour and ordinary oats, yours will have a slightly more unctuous quality and it will be a delight just the same.
Great for packing in a bag for when you are out and about too, especially in children’s packed lunches, just don’t let them eat too many in one go 😉
Scarlet Rosita’s Utterly Delicious Date Slice
90g / 3oz Muscavado Sugar
330g / 10oz Medjool Dates (or ordinary chopped are fine, but the Medjool are fabulous!)
60g / 2oz Lemon juice
60g / 2oz water
180g / 6oz Sunflower Margarine
330g / 10oz Self Raising Gluten & Wheat Free Flour
120g / 4oz Gluten Free Oats
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (you can omit this if you are avoiding salt, it will only affect the taste not the chemistry)
Grind in a food processor the below for the topping
90g / 3oz Gluten Free Oats
60g / 2oz Cranberries
60g / 2oz Pumpkin seeds
30g / 1oz Chestnut flour
30g / 1oz Dried Figs
Parchment line a 15 cm x 15 cm tin. (of all the recipes, this is the most forgiving if you do not have a pan of this exact size and shape)
Set oven to 350˚F/180˚C/Gas 4.
Poach the dates in the lemon juice and water for a minute then beat with a wooden spoon until they are fully pulped.
Melt the margarine in a large pan over a medium heat and stir in all the first lot of dry ingredients.
Really work at getting it all coated.
Press 3/4 the mixture into the tray using a food bag over your hand.
Top with the date mixture.
Add the ground oats, fruit and seeds onto the remaining 1/4 of the oaty mix and use your hands to rub the mixture together, almost like making pastry.
Spoon this on top of the dates and then make an even spread of it over the top.
Now I suggest you cover it with a sheet of cling film and press firmly (without pushing the dates out the side!) You must do this as it will be crumbly but if you skip this it will just fall off the top of the slices.
Bin the cling film
Bake at gas 4 for 1 hour -1 hour and 15 minutes. It should just be turning golden and a delightful smell filling the kitchen.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes before dividing.
Allow to cool completely before lifting from the tin.