Cooking, Days Out

Blackberry Oat Crumble Bars (vegan and gluten-free)

These blackberry oat crumble bars are gluten-free and vegan, but you’d never be able to tell. They’re buttery, tart and perfect for late summer picnics or barbecues.

We haven’t been on a proper holiday this year because of all the uncertainty around Covid-19, but what we have been doing is lots of day trips. My husband takes a day off work every week or two and we go and do something touristy. Last week, we went back to Krause Berry Farms to pick some blackberries.

We love Krause Berry Farms – they have u-pick fields of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries depending on the season, as well as a market selling produce and gifts (we bought some wonderful sweet corn for a barbecue this time), an estate winery and a waffle bar. My children, especially my daughter, is a big fan of the waffles (which are available as GF and vegan) – have a look at my instagram post from when we went raspberry picking!

Anyway, we came back with loads of blackberries and I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do. Blackberry and apple crumble, naturally, but I wanted something I could take to the picnics we were going to over the weekend as well, so I decided to make blackberry oat crumble bars. They didn’t disappoint! I think a blackberry panna cotta might be on the cards too…

Makes 1 20cm x 30cm tray of crumble bars, which is about 15 squares

Ingredients:

For the blackberry chia jam:

300g blackberries
50g sugar (plus more to taste)
1 tbsp chia seeds

For the base:

140g oat flour (you can whizz oats in a food processor to grind to a flour)
70g rice flour
70g ground almonds
115g vegan butter (this is one Earth Balance buttery stick)
100g sugar

For the crumble topping:

55g rice flour
55g almond flour
110g jumbo or porridge oats (I used porridge oats this time)
75g butter
75g sugar

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc/350ºF.

Line a 20×30 baking dish with greaseproof paper (it makes the bars easier to get out).

For the blackberry chia jam:

Put all the ingredients into a medium-sized saucepan on a medium-low heat until the blackberries have mainly collapsed and the jam is starting to thicken. I helped mine along a bit with a muddler used for making mojitos.

Take it off the heat and leave it to cool while you make the base.

When it’s cool enough not to burn your tongue, taste and add more sugar if necessary, but remember that you want it to be a little tart – it balances out the sweetness of the crumble.

For the base:

Put the oat flour, rice flour and ground almonds in a large mixing bowl and stir.

Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and stir again.

Tip the crumbly mixture into your lined baking dish and push it down firmly with your fingers to form an even layer. The harder you push, the firmer your bars will be.

Pour the cooled jam on top and spread it to cover the whole base.

For the crumble topping:

Put the rice flour, ground almonds and oats into your mixing bowl and stir.

Add the diced butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and stir again.

Sprinkle the crumble on top of the jam layer and press it down lightly. You want to make sure your jam is fully covered, but if your crumble layer is too deep the bars will be more difficult to eat. Still delicious though! Any leftover crumble topping can be used on a crumble.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until your crumble is turning golden brown and your jam is bubbling.

Leave to cool before cutting into squares with a sharp knife.

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