When I worked in the Tea Shop, in Compton, Sally Porter used to make an amazing Date and Walnut loaf. The recipe was a secret but one thing that always struck me (as a teenager who knew little about cooking) was soaking the dates in bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. When I decided to bake this loaf, for the first time, I sought out a recipe with this authentic step. The rest seems fairly formulaic so I’m interested to see how it comes out. I omitted the vanilla essence.
Recipe from the interestingly named website http://www.rampantscotland.com/
Traditional Scottish Recipes
– Date and Walnut Loaf
This is a popular cake in tea rooms around Scotland which provide “home baking”. The ingredients below will make a large loaf – you can divide into two smaller cake tins and bake for a slightly shorter time.
¾ cup of boiling water
One cup of cooking dates, de-stoned and chopped (1 cup deseeded dried dates = 170g)
One teaspoon baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
4 ounces/125g/one stick margarine
4 ounces/125g/¾ cup sugar
½ lb/250g/two cups plain flour
Half a cup broken walnuts
Few drops vanilla essence
Pour the boiling water over the dates and baking soda and allow to stand. Beat the margarine and sugar together, then add the egg and then the flour and mix well. Stir in the dates and the liquid, add a few drops of vanilla essence and mix well. Bake in a greased and lined loaf tin in a pre-heated oven for an hour at 325F/170C/Gas Mark 3.
Conversion of measures from: