Dates, walnuts and rosewater come together in this layered slice to create something that’s definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
Date and Walnut slice has always been a favourite of mine. My sister made a divine date slice with a lemon icing way back when we were both much, much younger. I loved it so much that she re-named it “Libby’s Date Slice”.
Aussie Date Slice (with a middle eastern twist)
Given my love for date slice, I was determined to make this recipe a winner.
I sometimes stick faithfully to Nana Ling‘s original recipe, while other times I need to modify things or like to get a little creative.
This week, my first attempt fell a little flat and I felt a lot flat afterwards. It looked messy, wasn’t cooked right and while the flavours were promising, it wasn’t quite hitting the mark for me.
The date paste in Nana Ling’s recipe reminded me a lot of the date filling I use to make Ma’amoul, an Arabic biscuit. So I reinvented Nana Ling’s date slice with an Arabic twist.
What’s in this date slice?
The soft biscuit layer and date paste – which reminded me so much of Ma’amoul filling – stay. But I’ve added a chopped walnuts layer and topped it all off with a rosewater fondant to give this recipe that little extra something that seemed to be missing. It’s now a blend of traditional Aussie date slice and Arabic Ma’amoul.
What would Nana Ling think of my re-invention of her slice recipe?
I think she’d approve. Her recipe book has quite an international flavour for the times, and my mum tells me she had penpals from all across the world. I imagine that, like me, she was quite interested in ideas and flavours from around the world.
I’d love to know for sure, if only I could meet her for afternoon tea and serve up a slice of this Date and Walnut Slice for her verdict. I can only hope that she’d give it a star rating like she’s given some of her favourite recipes.
Nana Ling’s Date and Walnut Slice recipe
Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.
Date and Walnut Slice
- 115 grams butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
- 3 cups plain flour
- 3 teaspoons bicarb soda
- 250 grams pitted dates
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 100 grams chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
- 1 drop pink colouring
- handful dried rose petals (optional for decorating)
- Prepare date paste by combining chopped dates, water and vinegar in a saucepan, bringing to the boil and simmering for 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches a paste-like consistency. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (fan-forced).
- Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
- Add egg and beat again.
- Mix in milk, flour and bicarb soda, and coconut, alternating after adding about 1/3 of each.
- Grease two 27 x 17cm (approx) slice tins.
- Take 2/3 of the mixture and divide evenly between the two slice tins. Press mixture into the bottom of the tins.
- Spread date paste as evenly as possible onto mixture in tins then sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Divide the remaining mixture into half and roll out each half with a rolling pin. Carefully place onto the top of the date and walnut layer. Trim around edges so it fits nicely in the tin.
- Pierce top layer with a fork, leaving a 4-5cm gap between piercings.
- Place slice tins in oven and cook slice for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top.
- When cold, combine icing sugar, rosewater and pink colouring and drizzle over slice.
- Cut into squares and remove from tins. Sprinkle with dried rose petals.