Australian date slice

I’ve often mentioned that I really like dates; it probably goes back to my early childhood when my sister and I visited and sometimes stayed with our aunty who lived in a bedsit in Cambridge, a single room with a small  tabletop stove – probably a Baby Belling, and a small basin or sink. Her bed folded away, and the bathroom was shared by other lodgers in the house on Station Road Cambridge. None of our family were very well off, but with imagination and creativity, delicious things were produced. We once went to tea with aunty and all she had were some small bridge rolls, butter and a pack of dried, pressed dates. The fruit was in a solid block and had to be sliced or grated… I wonder if it’s still available? Four our tea we had date rolls – the bridge rolls split, buttered and filled with slices of date! We loved them and they became a favourite so even when she was a little better off they were still on the menu!

I was looking through some Australian recipes, sent to me by a distant cousin and I came across her way of making a date slice… I might have a go at this, and if it’s successful bake it again for my writing groups!

Shirley’s date slice

  • 4 oz butter
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4½ oz self raising flour
  • 2¼ oz plain flour
  • vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz finely chopped dates
  • 1 dessertspoon butter
  • 5 tbsps milk
  • pink icing
  1. put the dates, spoonful of butter and milk into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, then beat until smooth, then let it cool
  2. make the pastry by creaming the butter and sugar, beating in the egg, then adding the flour and vanilla
  3. cut the pastry in half, roll each half out and place one into a greased lined baking tray (Shirley doesn’t give dimensions but an ordinary tray-bake tin would be perfect!)
  4. spread the date mixture on top of pastry, then place the other half of the pastry rolled out on top
  5. bake for 30 mins or so, 350º F, 180º C, gas mark 4
  6. cool and ice with the pink icing (or just dust with icing sugar!)

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