“If baking is a labour at all, it’s a labour of love. A love that gets passed on from generation to generation.”
These are Jo Seagar’s sentiments, quoted in her new book, Jo Seagar Bakes. And, while the above quote may be true, she also admits that today few people learn to bake by helping out at the side of their grandmother or mother. Families live apart, parents have full time jobs and time is precious. So, that is where Jo steps in. In Jo Seagar Bakes she’s taking on the role of mother/grandmother/teacher and sharing her recipes with you, explaining all the important steps, as well as all the tips and tricks she has picked up over the years to help you create delicious treats, every single time.
Jo Seagar Bakes is a big, hard-covered, baking bible containing recipes for all the baking favourites you can think of, and then some. Many of the recipes are ones that have been passed down through the generations in Jo’s family, like ‘Fay’s Mumbles’ – a recipe passed on to Jo by her mum, or the Louise Cake which is a recipe that Jo’s Great Aunt Annie used to make on her coal range. There’s also some new recipes and ones that have had the flavours updated (the Lemon and Paeroa Scones have caught my eye!).
The book has been beautifully photographed and designed by Jae Frew, with the pages having a vintage feel to them. Jo Seagar Bakes hits stores today and has an RRP of $55.00. To promote her new book, Jo will be undertaking a nationwide tour during November and December. She is such a fun and lovely person, so take a look at the dates and if you can head along to one of the events, do so; you’ll enjoy yourself.
But, for now, here’s a recipe from Jo Seagar Bakes that we’ve been lucky enough to be able to share with you…
Butterscotch Date Fingers
This is my Granny Win’s recipe. Very quick and simple but such a complex butterscotch flavour. A frequently requested recipe.
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
250 g butter
2 ½ cups brown sugar
2 cups self-raising flour
2½ cups chopped pitted dates (cut each date into 4–5 pieces)
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 x 30 cm slice tin with baking paper.
Place the butter and brown sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Cool in the saucepan.
When the butter mixture has cooled, pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs, then the flour. Lastly, add the dates and mix well. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 18–20 minutes until the surface is shiny and dry. Cool in the tin. Cut into fingers when cold. Freezes really well.
Recipe reproduced with permission from Jo Seagar Bakes by Jo Seagar. Published by Random House NZ. RRP $50.00. Copyright © recipe text to Jo Seagar; photography Jae Frew, 2014.