This excellent teacake, full of dates and topped with roasted walnuts, is often served thinly sliced at English tea tables. The English drink their tea all day long, even with their meals, and a cup of steaming hot tea with milk is often the first thing you are offered when you visit their homes. But there is nothing better than the formal tea hour, when you stop your day at four o’clock to enjoy a freshly brewed cup, delectable cakes and biscuits, and a visit with friends. This cake tastes wonderful toasted and served with butter or made with dried fruits such as prunes or raisins.
Yield: Serves 8
Butter and flour for preparing pan
1 pound (500 g) dates, pitted
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (250 ml) boiling-hot water
2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup (75 g) light brown or raw sugar
1 cup (150 g) chopped walnuts, divided
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons (45 g) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C).
Lightly butter and dust with flour all sides of a 9 x 5 x 3-inch (23 x 13 x 6-cm) loaf pan.
Chop dates with 2 tablespoons flour to make them easier to chop.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix flour, salt, sugar, and ½ cup (75 g) walnuts.
Mix in egg and butter with dates. Stir into flour mixture until batter is soft and sticky.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining nuts on top.
Bake, uncovered, 2 hours or until brown and a knife inserted comes out clean.
Let cool in pan.
Take cake out of pan and store in a tightly fitted container or wrap with plastic wrap. This loaf gets better the next day.
Slice thinly and enjoy with a cup of tea.
Mind Refresher: Stand straight, relax, and breathe normally. As you chop the dates, think to yourself, “I am chopping the poisons of my mind, which contribute to my hopes and fears.”