Scottish Fruit Slice

Photo of ingredients for making Scottish Fruit Slice

Slice of Home
I love to travel. But, I haven’t done much of it recently because, well, life. Sure, we’ve done the requisite Hawaii and Mexico trips as well as some fantastic national parks. But, we haven’t done what I consider real traveling. To me, real traveling is when you find yourself in a new country where you can soak up all of the culture and get to know the people. And the food.

I mean, it’s always about the food, right?

Fifteen years ago, I went to Scotland. It was magical. If you have done any traveling and have had the happy experience of feeling like you have come home that is what being in Scotland was like for me. While I have some Scottish blood in my veins, it is a very small part of my heritage. Although I do have quite a bit of Viking blood which kind of works historically.

I spent a little less than two weeks exploring Edinburgh, Loch Lomond, the highlands, and the islands—eating and drinking my way through some of the most beautiful scenery on earth. The best salmon I have ever tasted was served in a tiny place on the river Spey. The salmon melted in your mouth. Literally melted. I haven’t been able to recreate it, but I do dream about it…often.

Another tasty bite that I have been trying to recreate is a pastry that I purchased from a bakery on the square in the town of Portree on the island of Skye. The Scottish Fruit Slice is essentially two layers of shortbread with a spiced fruit filling in the middle. I have spent the past 15 years trying to find a recipe for it.

Part of the challenge in finding the right recipe was that not only is this treat known by a multitude of names, there are also widely varying versions based on where it is made. What I know as a fruit slice is also known as Fly Cemetery or Fly Cake names which, frankly, diminish the cravability. Also, what I enjoyed on my trip is, no surprise, the Scottish version. Other versions, i.e., the English version, use puff pastry instead of shortbread for the layers.

I like the sturdiness of the shortbread which makes it much easier to eat cookie-style alongside a whisky-spiked cup of tea. The shortbread also holds up better in my Christmas cookie box which this year, I am excited to say, will have some fruit slices in them because I finally found the right recipe!

Scottish Fruit Slice Recipe
Yields 12 servings

This easy Scottish Fruit Slice recipe of shortcrust pastry filled with juicy currants is one to add to your repertoire. It’s quick and simple to make and works well for holiday cookie trays, bake sales, and afternoon tea. Feel free to add a splash of Scottish whisky for an extra flavor. 

For the dough
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the filling
18 ounces dried currants
6 ounces unsalted butter
6 ounces light brown sugar
2 teaspoons mixed spice, pumpkin pie spice works well here
1 tablespoon whisky, optional
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sugar

Make the dough
Combine both types of flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the diced butter and begin to rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs with some pea-sized pieces. (If you are using a stand mixer, mix on low-medium speed until the mixture resembles the same texture.)

Mix the egg yolks and cream them together in a bowl. Gradually add the yolks to the flour and butter mixture. If using your hands, bring the mixture together in the bowl. (If using the mixer, continue to mix gently until the dough just begins to form.) The mixture will look crumbly at first but will come together quickly. Make sure to not over-handle it or mix it too fast.

Chill the dough
Divide the finished dough into two equal portions and flatten each into a circle. Wrap them in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least one hour before using. The dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month.

Make the filling
Preheat oven to 350º F.

Prep the pan
Grease a 10 x 8 inch (or similar) rimmed baking sheet with melted butter or baking spray. Set the baking sheet aside.

Combine all the fruit filling ingredients into a medium saucepan and gently warm it over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. When the filling begins to bubble on the edges, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Form the cookies
Remove the rested dough from the fridge. Unwrap one portion and place it on a lightly floured work counter. Roll the dough to create the base of the cookie, making sure it is large enough to fill the bottom of the baking sheet and to come up the sides about an inch. Press the dough into the prepared sheet pan.

Spoon the cooled fruit filling on top of the pastry. Spread the filling to cover the base of the pastry in a smooth, even layer.

Roll out the other half of the dough to make the top layer the same size as the tray. Gently lay the pastry over the filling. Overlap the pastry from the base to create and pinch the edges to seal in the filling. Lightly brush the top with the beaten egg and pierce the dough in several places using a sharp knife to allow steam to escape during baking. Sprinkle the top with sugar,

Bake the cookies
Bake the pastry until it is golden brown (about 40-50 minutes).

To prevent sticking, carefully remove the pastry from the baking sheet as soon as it is cool enough to handle. Then allow it to cool completely before slicing it into 12 (or smaller) pieces using a serrated knife.

To store
Scottish Fruit Slice will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

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