We share a recipe with a special historical connection to Pilgrims' Friend Society

Many thanks to Ruth Broomhall, Manager at Strathclyde House, Skelmorlie, for sharing this delicious recipe. The recipe was passed down from her grandmother, Fragrance, who helped out in one of the five care homes set up by Christian evangelist Ernest Luff in Frinton-on-Sea. It is very possible that Ruth’s grandmother used to make date confection for residents.

The photo shows Ruth’s family outside the home. Fragrance is the lady on the far left, while Ruth is the baby on her mother’s lap in the middle. The homes set up by Luff were eventually combined to form Luff House, our home in Walton-on-the-Naze.

Ruth says, “Our whole family has always enjoyed this recipe, traditionally at Christmas time (but not exclusively!) when Mum bakes it in batches for family and friends.”

   

Ingredients
450g loose pitted dates
225g margarine/butter
170g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 packet (around 400g) plain biscuits (digestives or rich tea), broken into small pieces
300g dark/milk cooking chocolate
Glacé cherries/walnuts/stem ginger for decoration (optional)

What to do:
1. Place the dates, margarine/butter, sugar and egg in a large saucepan.
2. Heat over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously. (The dates needed to be almost melted but do not overboil as you end up with toffee!).
3. Away from heat, add biscuits to mixture. Mix well.
4. Press into a greased medium-sized baking tray. Leave to cool.
5. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally.
6. Spread chocolate over the top. Add decorations (if using).
7. Chill in the fridge.
8. Once set, cut into squares.

Feeling crafty? Make a lovely Christmas wreath! Our family members will show you how.

This recipe first appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of The Pilgrims' Magazine