Date and walnut loaf
I looked on the pantry shelves to see what might make into a cake/biscuit/sweet treat and came across two packets of pitted dates. I was studiously avoiding the organic cacao powder, the dark chocolate buttons, and the heap of nibbled on Easter eggs and bunnies left over from Sunday. After the easter weekend, the treat needed to be HEALTHY.
I remembered my mother making a date and walnut cake for my birthday when I was about 14, thinking it was so grown up to finally have a simple, big round cake with white lemon frosting-for me, an important departure from all the fun cakes of childhood which included Humpty Dumpty sitting on a chocolate wall, a wishing well, a straw hat with roses all over the brim, even a cake shaped like a grand piano......... my mother had been an enthusiastic baker and cake decorater in her time.
Anyway, back to the loaf- the combination of dates and walnuts with a lemon frosting was pretty magic as I remember, so this is what happened in the kitchen yesterday and despite a pile of lovely eggs brought to room temp, and also some softened butter, neither ingredients were used.
You won't miss those ingredients as you nibble on these slices- they are very satisfying, accompanied by a cup of tea........stay sane in isolation, my friends!
1 and 1/4 cups chopped pitted dates
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 and 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon soda bicarb
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 and 1/4 cups toasted and chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips (I couldn't resist a tiny bit of chocolate: this is optional)
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
pinch of salt
For the frosting/glaze:
2 cups icing sugar
Turn your oven on to 180 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan, and then dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour so the whole pan including the corners and sides have a light and even dusting of flour.
Pour the hot water over the chopped dates, add the honey or maple syrup, and set aside to soften.
Mix the flour and the soda bicarb together with a dry hand whisk.
Add the sugar, the walnuts, the salt, chocolate chips and the oats. Combine thoroughly.
Now with a potato masher, pulp the date and water mixture until a smooth and thick consistency like a gravy is formed.
Pour the date mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Turn this mixture into the loaf pan, and place in centre of the oven- it should come up golden and test clean with a skewer after 20-30 minutes.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze
Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a bowl, and gradually add a tablespoon at a time of the sifted icing sugar. If the taste is too tart for your liking, add some small amounts of water at a time (teaspoon full at a time). The texture can change very quickly if you add too much water.
Add sugar until a gooey, toothpaste like consistency is reached.
Spread over the cooled loaf.
Cut into thick slices and enjoy!
Let me know what you think of the combination of lemon with dates. I love it myself! Daughter spread her slice with melted chocolate..........ever the choc addict!