After a premature start, some gorgeous, lounge-for-hours picnic weather has finally arrived. A couple of my work colleagues made use of it to celebrate the upcoming birth of their first child. Rather than a more conventional baby shower, a huge group of all genders and ages gathered in a park for a potluck.
We didn't have a lot of time to prepare and cook but it turned out that I had all the ingredients for this date & orange crumble slice posted last year on Lunch Lady. It's the kind of simple, hearty snack that's perfect for the weekday lunchbox. It translated well to the picnic blanket too, since it sliced up easily and could withstand sitting in the sun without melting or going bad.
I made pantry substitutions that also rendered the slice vegan, changing out the honey for golden syrup and the butter for margarine. The oaty base comes together in the food processor and was a little fiddly to press into my baking tray, but it handily doubles as a crumble topping. I was unsure about just dropping whole dates and orange juice onto the base, so I added an extra step of pureeing all of the orange juice with half of the dates. This ended up a tiny bit smoother than my preferred texture so I might hold back a few more whole dates next time. (I've adjusted the proportions below.)
Date & orange crumble slice
(slightly adapted from Lunch Lady)
2 cups dates
1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup golden syrup
Place the dates and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring them to the boil, then turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for a while.
Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a small baking tray with paper and lightly spray it with oil.
In a food processor, blend together the remaining ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Press half of the mixture into the baking tray (use a bit more if you need it to stretch across the base). Set the rest of the mixture aside.
Place about a third of the dates and all of their juice into the food processor and blend them until thick. Stir the puree back into the whole dates, then spread the whole fruity mixture over the base.
Crumble the remaining biscuity mixture over the top of the fruity layer. Bake the slice until browned on top, about 30 minutes.