Christina’s Award-winning Date Slice

2 ¼ cups SR flour
1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
135g butter, cut into cubes
Pinch salt
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp water (more if required)

250g pitted dates, chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
¾ cup water
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

60g butter, softened
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups icing sugar

To prepare the pastry, place the flour, salt, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Combine the egg, yolk, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the water and add to the flour mix. Pulse until the pastry just comes together, and only then add the additional water if required. Finish combining the pastry by hand with a very light knead, and then allow the pastry to rest while preparing the filling.

In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar, water and the grated rind and juice from the lemon and orange. Bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add spices and allow to cool. Check the consistency, it should be easy to spread, so add a little water to loosen the mix if required.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Roll out half the dough and press into a slice tin that is lined with parchment paper, making sure that the crust goes up the sides of the tin to contain the filling. Spread the filling evenly over the base and then roll out the other half of the pastry and place on top, trimming the edges as required. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
For the icing, combine softened butter and grated lemon rind in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and add the juice of the lemon. Continue to beat until the icing is well combined and then add a splash of milk so that the icing is silky smooth and of a spreadable consistency. Cover the cooled slice generously with lemon icing. Cut into squares and enjoy!

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