The Pie and I spent several long hot days in the kitchen, doing the prep-work for my brother’s wedding celebration. One of the confections we produced were some rich, tall date squares.
Interesting fact for you: date squares are a Canadian invention. I kid you not. If you look up date squares in some of the older cookbooks you’ll find it under “matrimonial date squares”. If anyone knows the reason for this, I’d love to hear it.
As a bit of a preparation for this, zest an orange.
While you’re at it get the juice from it as well.
And take 1/4 cup of hazelnuts and pulse them in a food processor until you have some lovely crumbs.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Now you start with the filling.
In a saucepan, stir together 2 cups water with 1 package (375g) pitted dates, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, and the juice from your orange, about 4 tablespoons. Let that stand for about 30 minutes.
Afterwards, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently, stirring often, until it’s thickened. This will take about ten minutes. And when it bubbles it will more resemble swamp goo than anything else. Let it cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups rolled oats, 1 1/4 cups flour, and 1 cup packed brown sugar.
Cut in 1 cup cold cubed butter. Keep going until the mixture is in coarse crumbs.
Press half (or slightly more than half) the oat mixture evenly into an 8-inch (2L) square pan lined with parchment paper.
Spread the mixture with your date goo.
Add the hazelnuts to your remaining oat mixture and toss well.
Pile the remaining mixture on top of the date goo and press it down lightly.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown on top, and let it cool before cutting into squares.
If you keep it covered it will last for weeks. You can also freeze the squares before baking, wrapped in aluminum foil.