This square has a sweet and sticky date filling sandwiched between two layers of an oat-based crumble. Called a date square in most places, in Western Canada and Northern England it’s also known as a matrimonial square or cake. There are various conjectures as to why including the idea that the crumble and date filling marry together in perfect harmony or the theory that “dates” will lead to matrimony. Our money is on Gastronomica’s account that the cake evolved from ancient Roman traditions around marriage and is part of the evolution of the modern-day wedding cake (Click here for the full article). Either way, here is a gluten free version of an oldie but a goodie. This recipe is a conversion of Jean Paré’s version of Matrimonial Squares.
What you’ll need:
1 ¼ cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 ½ cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, chilled and cubed
½ pound dates, sliced
½ cup white sugar
2/3 cup water
What you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch pan.
Add flour, xanthan gum, brown sugar, soda, and salt to food processor. Pulse to combine.
Add butter and pulse until mixture comes together in large crumbles. Add oats and pulse to just mix them in – or mix them into the crumble by hand.
Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of your pan.
In sauce pan, combine dates, white sugar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the dates are mushy. You may need to add water if the mixture becomes too dry.
Spread the date filling over the bottom layer of pressed crumble. Now sprinkle the final third of the crumb mixture over top of the filling and lightly press it into the filling.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top turns a golden brown colour.
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Photo credit: gf and me 2013. Plate is “The Engagement” from the Brambly Hedge Series by Royal Doulton.