Date & Lemon Spirals
For the dough:
- 225 grams / 8 oz butter, softened at room temperature
- 175 grams / 6 oz caster sugar, divided
- 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract * see notes
- 280 grams / 10 oz plain flour (maida)
- pinch of salt
For the filling
- 280 grams / 10 oz dried dates, stoned and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon blossom honey (I used regular honey)
- 5 tablespoons lemon juice * see notes
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
- 125 ml (about 1/2 cup) of water
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon)
To make the dough:
1. Place the butter and 140 gms/5 oz of the sugar into a large bowl and mix well. Beat in the egg yolk and lemon extract.
2. Sift together the flour and salt into the mixture and stir to combine. Use your hands to shape the mixture into a dough. Cover the bowl with cling film/plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for about 30-60 mins.
To make the filling:
1. Place the dates, honey, lemon juice, lemon rind and water in a heavy based saucepan and bring it to a boil and continue to simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely then chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
2. Mix together the cinnamon and the remaining caster sugar in a bowl and keep aside.
1. Unwrap the dough and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper (grease proof paper) into a 30cm (12 inch) square.
2. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture all over the surface of the rolled dough and roll again lightly with the rolling pin.
3. Spread the prepared date mixture lightly over the dough leaving about 1cm space on all edges (so that the mixture doesn’t spill out)
4. Starting from the side opposite to you roll the dough inwards towards you – pretty much like a Swiss roll. Try to roll it as tighly as possible. Wrap in cling film again and chill in the fridge for another 30 mins
5. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment
6. Remove the roll from the fridge, unwrap and using a serrated knife cut into thin slices.
7. Place the slices spaced well apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake in the oven for 12- 15 minutes (important – see note# 4) or until golden brown. They will still feel soft to touch but will harden as they cool.
8. Remove the baking sheets out and leave the spirals untouched to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then gently transfer them onto a wire rack until cooled completely.
1. Substitute lemon extract with lemon essence. I used the Foster’s brand. Lemon extract is not to be confused with freshly squeezed lemon juice
2. Note that limes and lemons are different. Lemons are larger (almost the size of a tennis ball – 1 lemon fits inside the palm) and slightly sweet smelling. Limes are green and astringent in taste. In India you get lemons that look almost the same as limes. Use the yellow ones and dilute the juice slightly with water.
3. Once out of the oven the spirals will seem soft but they will harden upon cooling. Do not touch them when they are still warm or they will crumble. The spirals are extremely melt in the mouth and crumbly but so delicious
4. I suggest baking the spirals for a full 15 minutes as under baking them can make them soft and crumbly.
Recipe Source: The Perfect Christmas