This bar has got to be one of my all time favourites. Since going Vegan I have struggled with my sweet tooth. Being British I drink a lot of tea and it is customary to have a biscuit or a small cakey snack with a nice cuppa.
This Vegan Nutty Berry Bar certainly fits the bill, you would never guess that it’s healthy, or lets say healthyish!
There are three parts to the recipe but it is very easy and definitely worth it.
1. Make a nice shortcrust pastry for the base.
2. Make sure you have a couple of cups of frozen berries for the middle.
3. For the top you will need a food processor to grind the nuts.
1. The Pastry
We want the pastry to be almost cake like so use self raising flour if possible. If you can’t get self raising then plain with a teaspoon of baking powder.
Make a mix of 100ml soya milk and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar and put it to one side to allow it to curdle, this is the equivalent to adding buttermilk or sour cream, it makes the pastry lighter.
For pastry I have a rule – always 1/2 fat to flour. So if you have 200gram fat then it is 400gram flour. Obviously the fat will be vegan.
OK here are the ingredients for the pastry:
400gram SR flour
200gram vegan fat
100ml soya milk
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
200grams coconut sugar
Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar.
Add the milk and vinegar mixture slowly until the mix is wet enough, but not too wet, to come together.
Line a tray with some baking parchment then roll the pastry to fit the tray and place on top of the parchment and cook in oven at 180 for 12 minutes then allow to cool.
The fruity bit:
Slightly defrost 3 cups of frozen berries. Measure the berries before you defrost them. I use fruits of the forest containing raspberries, strawberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants but it is up to you.
Spread the fruit over the pastry layer.
The top layer:
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of almonds
1 cup of pecan nuts
1 cup rolled outs
1 cup of a mix of dates and dried apricots.
1 cup coconut sugar
200gram hard vegan baking fat. It must be a hard fat otherwise the bars will not set hard enough when they are cooled.
(Stork have brought out a great hard 100% coconut oil block which is perfect for this)
Chop the nuts, dried fruit and rolled oats in the food processor until quite fine but not too fine, you still need to see little tiny pieces, it shouldn’t be a paste.
Empty into a mixing bowl and add the sugar and rub in the fat like you did with the pastry, (you may have to grate the fat if it is very hard). This time you don’t need any liquid.
Spread the mixture over your fruit and pat down.
Place the tray into the oven at 180 for about 30 – 40 mins or when the top has got some colour.
Once cooked and cool you need to put the tray into the fridge for a couple of hours before you take the tray bake out to cut into squares.
You can actually put the tray into the fridge while it is piping hot. There is a fallacy that it’s not good to put hot things in the fridge but in fact it is better that food cools down quicker. The problem is that the hot food will bring the temperature of the fridge up and other food could go off.
When I was cheffing, I used to keep an empty fridge on very cold especially for cooling stuff down quickly.