Recipe for Apple and Date Slice

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If you are still sticking to your new year’s resolution of trying to eat healthier, then this recipe for a healthier treat from Pixie Hall Cakes is for you.

So here we are in 2015! I hope you have all recovered from the festive season and things are getting back to normal. I’m sure some of you will have resolved to get healthier this year and the last thing you want to think about is cake. Sorry. As someone who spends their time making all things chocolatey, sugary and sweet; I get a lot of hate at this time of year. People are convinced that I’m out to scupper their new healthy regimes and I promise, I’m not. I just believe that a healthy diet can still include cake. Just not a whole cake and not everyday. It’s all about moderation.

Now, that being said, I have a healthier recipe for you this month. Please note I say healthiER and not healthy. There is still sugar and butter in this cake and though it is in more modest quantities than a chocolate cake it is definitely there. I still wouldn’t recommend eating the whole thing in one sitting but you shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying a slice or 2.

My mum used to make a version of these date and apple slices when we were kids. They’re perfect for tucking into lunch boxes or for enjoying with a cup of tea mid morning (as I am doing while I write this). The mixture comes together really quickly with the use of a food processor but if you don’t have one, it’s easy to make by hand.

The wholemeal flour adds a delicious, nutty texture and flavour that you just can’t get with a refined flour and is a welcome addition. There is no sugar added to the filling so the flavour of the apples shines through and the sticky dates add a lovely chewy texture and toffee sweetness. There’s a certain simple charm to the flavours here and there wasn’t much that I changed from the ones my mum made all those years ago.

Recipe for Date and Apple Slice

Recipe for Apple and Date Slice

Ingredients

For the shortcake:

200g wholemeal flour

100g plain flour

Pinch of salt

150g butter, cubed

100g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

2tbsp milk

 

For the filling:

2 large eating apples

1 tbsp lemon juice

100g dried dates

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.

If you’re making these by hand:

Place the flours and salt into a large bowl and stir together, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar, egg and milk until it forms a dough.

If you’re using a food processor:

Put the flours, salt, sugar and butter into the mixer and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and milk and pulse again until a dough is formed.

Knead the dough briefly on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Press half the mixture into the base of the tin using you fingers and make sure it is even.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and place them into a bowl with the lemon juice. Chop the dates (I find it easiest to use scissors) into the bowl and mix together until well coated with the juice.

Spread the apples and dates over the shortcake base in an even layer. Crumble the rest of the shortcake dough over the top of the apples and gently press down. It doesn’t matter if there is some filling showing through the gaps but try and press the dough together so it holds when you slice it up later.

Bake the slices or 35-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin. Slice into 9 or 12 and enjoy!

 

Linds Bestwicke runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography

Recipe for Apple Crumble Slice

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This week’s guest blog is a recipe for Apple Crumble Slices from Pixie Hall Cakes.

Apple Crumble Slice

It’s getting dark earlier in the evening, the breeze has a chilly bite and the mornings are turning crisp. The kids are back at school and life is going back to normal after the holidays. The summer is coming to an end and we’ve had such incredible weather. It’s hard to imagine that we’ll soon be digging out our boots, hats and scarves and trudging about in wet and windy weather.

At this time of year my mind wanders to flavours of autumn. I think of apples, cinnamon and hearty oats. These flavours may be more subtle than the bright berries of summer but they have an important role; they are warming and familiar and, as the nights draw in and the fires are lit, they fill me with a sense of comfort. In case you can’t tell, autumn is my favourite time of year.

I love the changing colours of the landscape, the trees turning red and gold, and the new flavours coming into season. As much as I love strawberries, there are only so many you can eat without yearning for something different.

It’s been really tough to pick a recipe for this month. I wanted something that was a bit easier to put together than last month’s showpiece. It also needed to be something that would be great tucked into a school lunchbox or enjoyed in the afternoon with a cup of tea and with our favourite autumnal flavours. Not too much of a challenge!

I finally settled on this Apple Crumble Slice. These are pretty easy to put together and are packed full of apples, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. I think something magical happens when apples and cinnamon combine; the flavours are made for each other. These buttery, crumbly slices are the perfect mix of autumn comfort food and they taste amazing. Sturdy enough to be packed into a lunchbox for you or the kids, tasty enough to serve to guests and irresistible with a hot cup of tea; these are a great all rounder.  Let me know what you think!

Apple Crumble Slice

Serves 12 (depending on how you slice them).

Ingredients:

For the crust:

380g plain flour

160g brown sugar

2tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp salt

1 egg

225g butter, cubed

50g oats

For the apple filling

4 medium Granny Smith apples

1tsp cinnamon

2tsp corn flour

Juice of half a lemon

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, line a rectangular tin (9”x13” or 23x33cm) with baking paper making sure it comes up the sides a bit (this will help get everything out later).

2. Peel the apples and, using a standard box grater, grate them into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.

3. Mix the plain flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl. Add the butter and, using your hands, rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.  This can be a bit messy but it helps if the butter is cold. Add the egg and stir in with a table knife until combined and the dough comes together slightly.

4. Put half the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin and press down firmly with your fingers. Try to get it in an even layer.

5. Squeeze and drain the excess liquid from the apples and then add the cinnamon and corn flour and stir until combined. Scatter the apple evenly over the base.

6. Stir the oats into the remaining dough and crumble it all over the apples. It doesn’t matter if there are some lumps as this adds to the textures.

9. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top and your kitchen smells like autumn. Allow to cool in the tin and cut into 12 squares when completely cold. Enjoy with a cup of tea or for pudding with some custard!

Linds Hall runs Pixie Hall Cakes in Fakenham and can be found selling her delicious baking at Fakenham Farmers’ Market on the 4th Saturday of each month.

Photographs by Keith Osborn Photography