Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Fruity Crumble Shortbread Traybake

I love the incredible access we have to fruit and vegetables from all over the world. If there is one thing that globalisation has achieved for the kitchen, it is variety! One of the things I love about travel is the opportunity to try new foods, but increasingly they are available in the local supermarket (albeit not as fresh or exciting as having them in the place where they were produced). Either way, I love to experiment with different (and sometimes unusual) combinations of fresh fruit and find that some of the flavours and textures achieved can be surprising, delightful and quite a tease all at the same time.

Last weekend, I needed to make a batch of 'fruit shortbread' to send with my daughter for her gluten free school lunch. I often make a shortbread base with a fruit crumble topping and as we are just coming into English strawberry season, I thought it would be a nice idea to use some. Wandering round the supermarket, I saw some particularly tempting pineapples and mangos, so decided I would mix them up into a fruity 'goo' for the middle layer of the pud. My daughter loves pineapple, so it seemed a good option and as it has a firm 'bite', I thought it would combine nicely with the softness of the mango and strawberry.

Weirdly, once I had made a jammy mix out of the three fruits, it tasted decidedly like rhubarb........... even the colour matched......... It had a delicious tang (which I didn't expect) and tasted perfect against the sweet melting shortbread base and the crunchy, oaty crumble topping. So I had to share it with you, because I will definitely be making it again! It was a hit with the whole family, so I am not sure how much will be left for school.........

You can try any combination of fruit (local or global) for this recipe. I often use apples, raspberries, blackberries and cherries, especially when in season, and throw in the odd mango, pineapple, melon, lychee, rhubarb, passion fruit, kiwi fruit or anything else that takes my fancy. Mostly, the flavours work........... occasionally they don't................ but it is great fun, and very therapeutic, chopping, mixing, tasting and seeing what you end up with.

I have given recipes below for 2 combinations - Pineapple, mango and strawberry. And apple and raspberry. Both are yum!

You can adjust both the consistency of the fruit filling and the texture of the crumble to your preference (to make it either more of a hand-held pudding or an eat out of a bowl with custard or ice-cream pudding). Either way, it tastes great.........

Shortbread Base

120g unsalted butter (cut into small cubes)
90g cornflour
90g white gluten free flour blend (I use Mix A from this post)
60g caster sugar
20g soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon vanilla essence


  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4 and base line an 8 inch/20 cm square (approx. 2 inch/5 cm deep), non-stick, loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Weigh and combine all the dry ingredients (not the butter and vanilla) in a food processor and blend for a few seconds until thoroughly mixed.
  3. Add the butter and vanilla extract and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together.
  4. Tip the dough mix into the cake tin and push down firmly and evenly so that it forms a firm biscuit base covering.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes until beginning to turn golden brown. Then remove from the oven and set aside.
(If you do not have a food processor, rub the butter into the flours, then add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly by hand. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands to start the binding process, then continue from step 4 as above)

Pineapple, Mango & Strawberry Filling

1 small pineapple - cored, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 medium mango - peeled, de-stoned and cut into small pieces
200g strawberries - hulled and cut into quarters
25g soft light brown sugar
25g honey
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
(1 teaspoon cornflour to thicken)


  1. Put the pineapple, sugar, honey and spices into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring on medium heat.
  2. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently.
  3. Add the mango and strawberry and continue to simmer until the mixture has reduced to the required gooey jam consistency. If the mixture feels too runny, mix a teaspoon of cornflour with a tiny amount of water and stir into the fruit mix until it thickens slightly.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until you are ready to put the whole thing together.

Alternative Apple & Raspberry Filling 

350g cooking apples (peeled and cored weight) - chopped into small pieces 
150g raspberries
50g soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons apple sauce
1 ½ tablespoons apple or pineapple juice
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Put all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil gradually, stirring on medium heat.
  2. Simmer, stirring intermittently, until the mixture has reduced to the required gooey, jam consistency.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until you are ready to put the whole thing together.

Oaty Crumble Topping    

100g unsalted butter - chilled and cut into small pieces
120g gluten free oat flour (make your own as in this post
90g gluten free oats
40g caster sugar
50g soft light brown sugar
runny honey (to drizzle over the crumble top) - optional



  1. Rub the butter into the oat flour and oats until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the sugars and stir thoroughly until evenly mixed.
  3. Squeeze together lightly with your finger tips until you have a slightly clumpy mixture.

 Putting it all together     

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4.
  2. Spread the fruit mixture over the shortbread base evenly.
  3. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit layer.
  4. If you are using, drizzle a little honey over the crumble topping. This helps to give a golden, sweet finish to the bake.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool before cutting into squares, or eat as a hot pudding, served with custard, cream or ice cream.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

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