Although it may appear slightly fancier, this tart does not stray far from the classic Canadian combination of sticky sweet dates and buttery oatmeal crumble. Choose the best dates you can find, preferably some fat and juicy medjools from the organic section, and that is all you will need to elevate the humble date suqare. The sweet tart dough is so rich and flavourful that the last crust-filled bite is just as delicious as the rest, and the crunchy crumb topping adds a welcome contrast to the moist filling.
Date Crumble Tart
Sweet Tart Dough Recipe
via Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (188g)
1/2 cup icing sugar (60g)
1/4 teaspoon fine table salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (4.5oz), cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
Sift together the flour, icing sugar, and salt. Place in the bowl of a food processor.
Add the cold, cubed butter and pulse only until the butter resembles large flake oatmeal with a few remaining pea-sized bits.
Use a fork to break up the yolk and then add it gradually, pulsing after each addition.
When the egg yolk is incorporated, pulse in long (10 second) pulses until the dough forms small clumps.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball, giving it a few brief kneads if necessary to ensure that all the ingredients are combined.
Press the dough into the tart pan, making sure that it is evenly distributed and pressed in firmly around the edges.
Cover the shell with plastic wrap and freeze it for one hour. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Butter a large piece of tinfoil and press it securely against the dough, forming it to the shell. This will prevent the dough from puffing up during baking.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown and the bottom is dry.
Let the tart shell cool completely in the tin.
Date Filling Recipe
adapted from joyofbaking.com, http://www.joyofbaking.com/DateSquares.html
395g dried whole dates, preferably medjool
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean
Carefully pit the dates, then roughly chop them and place in a small saucepan. Scrape in the seeds of one vanilla bean. Cover with 1 cup of water.
Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, just until the dates have absorbed most of the water. Once the mixture has cooled completely, blend in a food processor to form a slightly chunky paste.
Oatmeal Crumb Topping Recipe
Note: My basic crumble recipe makes more than is needed for this tart. Freeze the remaining crumble in a plastic bag and use to top your next batch of muffins.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (188g)
2/3 cup packed light brown or golden yellow sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4.5 oz unsalted butter
6 tablespoons quick oats
Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and quick oats. Use your fingers to break up any large chunks of brown sugar.
Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
Stir the butter into the flour mixture one tablespoon at a time to disperse evenly. Pour the butter over dry spots in the bowl and use a fork to toss, until all the liquid is absorbed and you have a nice blend of large and small clumps.
Spread out on a large tray to avoid mass clumping, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
Assemble and Bake
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Spread the cooled filling evenly into the partially baked and cooled tart shell. To ensure that the edges of the tart do not overbrown, cover with a pie shield or long strips of tinfoil.
Sprinkle the frozen crumble over top the filling in a thick and even layer.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crumble is a nice golden brown.
Cool completely before removing from the pan.
The tart will keep covered in the fridge for up to one week.