5. Date Crumble Shortbread**


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    16–20 squares

Appears in

Scottish Baking

Scottish Baking

By Sue Lawrence

Published 2016

  • About

These little squares are delicious with a cup of tea – or perfect to take on picnics. Be sure to leave them till completely cold in the tin or they will collapse. Patience!


  • 200 g/7 oz dried dates, stoned and chopped
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp (2 balls) stem ginger
  • 2 tbsp syrup from stem-ginger jar


  • 200 g/7 oz butter, slightly softened
  • 100 g/ oz golden caster sugar
  • 250 g/9 oz plain flour, sifted
  • 50 g/ oz semolina
  • 1 tsp demerara sugar


Place the first six ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes or until the dates are soft. Remove from the heat, tip into a small food-processor and whizz. Allow to cool.

For the shortbread, beat the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy – about 10 minutes – then gradually add the flour and semolina and a pinch of salt. Combine very briefly, until it just comes together as a dough.

Tip two-thirds of this mixture into a buttered, square, 23cm/9in tin, pressing down, then top with the cooled date mixture, spreading it out. Break the remaining shortbread into nuggets and dot all over the dates. Press down lightly with the palms of your hands and bake in a preheated oven (170C/325F/Gas 3) for 30–40 minutes until golden. Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Cut into squares while hot, then leave until cold before removing from the tin.