Down to the last crumb

R: Can I have the last date square?

Me: No, I want to blog it and I haven't taken any pictures yet.

The next day


R: Can I have it now?

Me: No, I still don't have a photo.

R: *sigh*

The next day


R: I'm going to eat the last date square.

Me: OK. Let me get the camera.


Matrimonial Cake (Date Square)

500 grams pitted dates
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (~2 navel oranges)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Crumb base:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats, old-fashioned
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup salted butter, chilled
zest of 2 oranges

Start with the filling. Zest and juice the oranges, setting aside the zest of one orange for later.

Combine the dates, brown sugar, orange juice, vanilla and the zest of one orange in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid thickens. Remove from heat.

Puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.

Next, get started on the crumb mixture. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and the zest of one orange.

Cube the chilled butter and add it to the dry ingredients. Rub the mixture between your fingertips until it begins to form coarse crumbs.

Firmly press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the cooled filling over the base and then sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly on top.

Bake until golden brown (about 35-40 minutes). Cool, then cut into squares.

Source: A variation on Mom's favourite recipe.

Notes: Date square, or matrimonial cake as my family calls it, is a Canadian classic. My mom's recipe calls for a 9-inch x 13-inch pan, but I wanted a thicker version.