If I’m baking, it has to be super-easy – like this delicious date and walnut roll that I don’t even need to get the electric mixer out for. I remember my Aunty Dorothy making these when I was a child, her daughter Gail often had slices in her lunchbox and I thought they were very fancy because they were round. The secret is a round loaf tin with removable ends (the size isn’t critical as the mixture doesn’t need to expand to completely fill it); if lifting the tins to spoon the mixture in, hold the bottom lid in place or it may slip off (yes, I learnt that the hard way!). You’ll need two tins for this recipe as it’s hard to make in a smaller quantity, but the rolls keep for up to a week in an airtight container, or you could give the second one to a friend. This is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, but also pretty good with a nutty oloroso Sherry, or an Australian fortified wine in that style, like Seppeltsfield DP38 Rich Rare Apera.
Makes about 16 slices
- 75g salted butter, plus extra for greasing and serving
- 200g pitted dates, chopped
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Grease 2 roll tins (20cm x 8cm).
- Place butter, dates, sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir frequently until sugar dissolves and butter melts.
- Increase heat, bring to the boil, transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside, stirring often to cool it down.
- When cool, stir in walnuts and egg.
- Sift combined flour, baking powder and bicarb soda over the top and fold in.
- Spoon mixture evenly into the tins and replace lids.
- Stand tins upright on a baking tray and place in oven for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Remove lids and stand rolls upright on a wire rack to cool.
- Serve sliced, warm or cold, topped with plenty of butter.