Tasmanian walnuts in Date Nut Loaf

Tasmania produces fresh large walnuts so I looked for my old cylindrical Willow brand tins I had found years ago in a charity shop and looked for some recipes. The tins are different designs although both Willow brand. This one is easier to fill but harder to clean.IMG_9166

The tricky tin, I defy anyone else to fill it with one hand whilst holding it upright with the other hand, unless someone is around to help it just falls apart. I doubt a ‘patent pending’ ever became legal for this tin design.IMG_9167

Looks OK when closed. My grandmother made these regularly and I recall they always made an appearance on the ‘take a plate’  morning and afternoon teas back in the fifties and sixties. 

You simply must slather the round thick slices with cold butter as it is not called a loaf for nothing. If you don’t eat butter at all don’t bother to make it.


I consulted all the old-fashioned community recipe books in my possession and they all have the same measurements for ingredients and tin size which is doubly perplexing because they all say, ‘use two cylindrical round tins’. They are all misleading – the ingredient measurements are wrong. The mixture quantity they give is not enough for two of the traditional tins, therefore I doubled the recipe and since I could not manage the second round tin that kept falling apart, without a helper I used a conventional loaf tin. You can see that by doubling the mix I would have had a little left over if I had used the two round tins.

The walnuts are Tasmanian, fresh and whole, not like the supermarket ones that are all broken into bits, and if you add up the cost of those small packets the price exceeds the health food price where I get these fresh Tasmanian nuts. No one is growing dates in Tasmania to my knowledge so I could not boast it is entirely Tasmanian.


Preheat oven to 180c

If you use fan forced then turn the oven down to 170 degrees C.

1 cup dates, chopped

1 tsp Quatre Epices, four spice blend (this is my little improvement)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sultanas
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup boiling water
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

Place dates, walnuts, sultanas, sugar, bi-carb and butter in a bowl.
Pour one cup of boiling water over contents of bowl.
Mix well, then add flour, salt and beaten egg.
Mix only till well blended.
Placed in two greased round nut loaf tins, replace top caps and stand upright in oven (or place all mixture in greased loaf tin).

Bake in moderate oven for 50-60 minutes.

Here is my printer friendly Date and Nut Loaf recipe



  1. #1 by Glenda on December 4, 2012 - 7:28 am

    Hi Roz, my mum used to make date and walnut loaf too. I have her two willow tins sitting in my cupboard. I have never used them. They don’t open up on the side like that tricky one of yours, they are like the other one. I have been meaning to make date and walnut loaf for ages. Maybe I will now I see yours. We always had it with lots of butter tooooo.

  2. #2 by Lynda on December 4, 2012 - 10:10 pm

    Thanks for the post Roz. Bought back memories of the walnut tree in the back yard of my childhood. Nothing like the taste of real food straight from the garden. Love the note, If you don’t eat butter at all don’t bother to make it. My sentiments exactly. Date loaf with a spread of butter…yummy. Pity it’s too hot up here to have the oven on today..maybe tomorrow.

  3. #3 by Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial on December 4, 2012 - 10:46 pm

    Roz, these look delicious AND charming. I was just wondering today if it was possible to bake a round cylindrical loaf of sourdough – you’ve answered that question! 🙂

  4. #4 by Glenda on October 21, 2013 - 2:38 pm

    Roz, I did a search for walnut and date loaf and your post came up. I have my mum’s tins packed to go to Bridgetown. I am definitely going to make a loaf.

    • #5 by tastetravel on October 22, 2013 - 4:27 pm

      Lashings of butter required to take us back to the days when our mothers or grandmothers made these.

      • #6 by Glenda on October 23, 2013 - 2:29 pm

        Hi Roz. I agree entirely

  1. Date Nut Filling | familyrecipebooks

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