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.
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
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.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Post-rolling, the night before.
Post-baking, the morning of.
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
zest of 1/2 lemon (you'll use the other half below)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature*
* Forgot to check if we had enough milk before beginning this project at 10:00 p.m. We didn't. So I made do with 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup plain yogurt. Worked like a charm.
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries*
* I started with 2 cups of frozen blueberries and then ran them briefly under hot water to remove any ice and speed up the thawing process.
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar, salt and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the egg and lemon zest and mix until incorporated.
Add the flour, yeast and milk and mix until a dough begins to form. Switch to the dough hook and knead, on low, for about 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and silky. (Aside: Annie notes that you may need to add a little extra flour or liquid to achieve this texture, but I lucked out with the measurements above.)
Lightly grease a large bowl with butter, transfer the dough to the bowl and turn once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise, in a warm spot, until double in size (about 2 hours).
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch by 14-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the sugar, then the cinnamon, then the berries evenly across the dough's surface. Starting with the narrow edge, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam shut and then roll the log so that the seam side is facing the counter. Slice into 9 pieces.
Instead of baking the rolls individually on a baking sheet, I jammed mine into a 9-inch square pan. It was cozy in that pan, let me tell you, but everyone managed to find a seat. Place each bun, cut side up, with larger buns in the corners and smaller ones closer to the centre. Cover with plastic wrap and place the pan in the fridge before you head off to bed.
When you wake up, remove the pan from the fridge and loosen the plastic wrap. Let the buns come to room temperature and proof (2-3 hours) before pre-heating your oven. (Aside: I noticed that my buns rose quite a bit overnight, so next time I am tempted to skip the "room temperature" step and head straight for the oven.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the buns cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. (Aside: Annie suggested a 20-30 minute baking time, but my "bun-based" approach seemed to take longer.)
While the buns are cooling, whisk the icing sugar, yogurt, lemon juice and zest together in a small bowl until smooth. Glaze the buns and then wait 10-15 more minutes, if you can, before digging in.
Yields 9 large buns.
Source: A slight variation on the Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls over at Annie's Eats, which Annie adapted from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.