Sweet things. They are the challenge for me, and while I don't have much of a sweet tooth anymore, I still like to provide treats for Jay and the kids that are healthy, and that I can eat, if I feel like it. I have two children who will devour any treats I make, and two who won't, unless there is chocolate involved. Anything too healthy looking they won't even look at. This here is something I love to make when I do feel like something sweet, and even if the two fussy ones won't eat it, the rest of us do, with gusto.
This recipe is from one of my favourite books, Blazing Salads, which is also a vegetarian, wholefood deli at 42 Drury St. Dublin. When we were living in Dublin, they had a restaurant in the Powerscourt Townhouse, and I would go miles out of my way, if I had to, to get some of their pumpkin, sweet potato and almond turnovers, or their brown rice balls with aduki beans. It was our number one place to meet certain friends, people who equally appreciated their, for it's time, groundbreaking cuisine. Gosh, I miss that place.... These days, any time I get into the city they are still on my list of places to visit, any time I can.
Dates do have a pretty high sugar content, so have a high GI content, but they have so much other good stuff in them like fiber, calcium and potassium, that it makes them a wonderful, occasional treat.
985g pitted dates
140ml fresh orange juice
240g organic fine oatflakes
120g brown rice flour
90g ground almonds
150ml natural sunflower oil
50ml organic apple juice concentrate
Oven: Gas 5, 190C, 375F
1. Wash the dates, place in a pot and add water up to level with the top of the dates. Place a lid on top, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir 40ml of the fresh orange juice and mix until smooth. Set aside.
2. Oil a 23cm (9in) square baking tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Oil the paper.
3. In a mixing bowl mix the oatflakes, rice flour, and ground almonds together. Using a zester, remove the rind of the orange and mix with the dry ingredients. Stir in the sunflower oil, apple juice concentrate, orange juice, and the juice from the zested orange into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
4. With dampened fingers, press two thirds of the mixture firmly into the baking tin. Spread the dates on top. Gently press the remainder of the mixture on top of the dates.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool and slice into about 12 pieces.
Even though it has the same mixture on top and on the bottom, baking it makes the top golden and crumbly, while all that orange juice soaking into the bottom makes it deliciously damp and moist.
It keeps for a few days in the fridge, if it lasts that long without being eaten, and is delicious for breakfast the next day, especially with a good dollop of natural yogurt, for those who fancy it.