The other week, Maus came into the study and said “I feel like a date pillow”. As I am sure you all know by now, Maus’ wish is my command.
I interpreted what she said as ” I want you to make me a date slice.” I stored the information away. “I can do that,” I thought. “I have some date paste that needs a purpose. I could kill two birds with one stone.”
Fast forward two weeks and I say to Maus, “I am going to make a date slice”, to which she replied, “Why?”. “Because you bloody well wanted one”, I replied. There was no comprehension on her face and, to be honest, no enthusiasm.
I was not to be deterred. I LOVE finding a use for food that is left over from some other endeavour. The recipe actually calls for dates but I had date paste and was going to use it. Date paste is just dates cooked and mashed up. It makes making the filling a bit less effort. You can buy date paste at Middle Eastern grocery stores. It is sold for making ma’mools.
Ok … the end result was not much like date pillows but bloody good, nonetheless. It is much softer, more cake-like than a date pillow. (I never thought to do a search for date pillows. I thought date slice would be close enough. I now see there are plenty of recipes.)
I found this recipe at Allrecipes Australia. Here is the link to the original recipe.
- 40g butter
- 40g sugar
- 40mls milk
- 1 egg, well beaten
- 1½ cups self-raising flour
- 375g dates or date paste
- 1 cup water
- juice of large lemon
*The original recipe called for ½ cup sugar to be added to the filling. This seemed a lot to me (dates are very sweet) so I decided to add the sugar, a little bit at a time, after the dates, water and lemon juice were amalgamated. As it turned out, I didn’t end up adding any sugar. The dates were sweet enough. Cook your dates and then taste. If you think it needs sugar (I would be surprised), add up to ½ a cup.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Line a slice tin (mine is 27.3cm x 17.5cm) with baking paper.
- Place all the ingredients for the filling in a saucepan and boil until thick, stirring all the while.**
- Put aside to cool.
- Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and heat in microwave until the butter has melted.
- Add the milk and the egg that has been well beaten.
- Mix well and add the flour. (Add a bit more flour if you need it.)
- Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half and line your slice tin with it.
- Spread the filling over the pastry.
- Roll out the second half of the dough and place on top of the date filling.
- Brush top with milk and prick pastry top with fork.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden (about 20-30 mins).
**If using dates rather than date paste, a friend suggested putting the dates, water and lemon juice in a food processor before cooking them. I think this is a good idea.
I found I had bits of date debris in my biscuits so, whether you use date paste or dates, you may wish to sieve the mixture after cooking it to make sure no bits make it into your biscuits.