Scottish fruit slice is a classic British old school dinners bake that is also amusingly known as fly cemetery, squashed fly pie, fly pie, dead flies grave, and flea cemetery! Or by one of these more everyday names such current pasty or current, raisin or fruit square.
Alternatively, there is also a very similar traditional bake from Yorkshire and the North East of England called a sly cake or cheat's cake.
Fly pie is fun for baking at Halloween as its a simple easy bake that tastes delicious with its buttery shortcrust pastry and sweet dried fruit filling. Although traditionally many families also bake fly pie for the festive Christmas season, as it is a tasty mince pie alternative.
This recipe for Scottish fruit slice is 100% vegan with no butter or eggs required, and definitely no flies harmed in the baking!
Scottish fruit slice is a very popular traditional bake that is likely to be found within any good Scottish bakery, cafe or tearoom. Some versions add a layer of thick water icing to the pastry top for extra indulgence.
What is a Scottish fruit slice?
A Scottish fruit slice, or whatever you like to call it such as a fly's cemetery or even the English sly or cheats cake, is basically a dried fruit filling, lightly flavoured with spices and baked sandwiched between two layers of crispy, buttery soft short-crust pastry.
The Scottish fruit slice was very popular during the 50s, 60s and 70s and was often served as a pudding option for school dinner.
The name's squashed fly pie or fly cemetery refers to the dried fruit filling which is usually currants, raisins or sultanas, resembling dead flies. The fruit slice is traditionally cut into squares which resembles the graveyard.
However, the English version sly pie or cheat's pie dates much further back with a mention in the book Glossary of Yorkshire Words  stating that the fly pie has the unusual name because it looks plain on the outside yet once the surprisingly tasty filling is bitten into, the cheat is uncovered!
Also, many sly pie recipes include figs and nuts such as walnuts, which Scottish fruit slices generally do not include.
How to prepare Scottish fruit slice or fly's cemetery!
To save time making pastry or the fruit filling, shop-bought shortcrust pastry can be used instead, as well as shop-bought jarred mincemeat [the kind intended for festive mince pies].
Alternatively, bake from scratch which is just as fun and easy.
For a quick home-baked fruit slice the pastry and the filling can be prepared one or two days in advance.
First prepare the pastry.
Add the flour, salt and vegan margarine/butter to a mixing bowl.
Rub the margarine into the flour, using your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir the granulated sugar through the flour mix.
Add 3-4 tablespoons of water and stir for a few minutes until the mixture begins to clump together.
Using the back of the mixing spoon press the mixture together into a dough.
With floured hands bring the mixture into a ball of dough.
Wrap with food wrap or similar and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile prepare the filling.
Add the dried fruit to a non-stick saucepan.
For the dried fruit it can be all currents, raisins or sultanas or use a mixture of the three. I used mostly currents with less raisins and sultanas.
Pour in 150ml of water and stir through 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 9-10 minutes until most of the liquid has gone. Stir frequently.
Leave the filling to cool, and once cool stir through one teaspoon of mixed spice powder.
Alternatively, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a ½ teaspoon of ginger powder.
To assemble the fruit slice, first divide the pastry into two pieces and place onto a surface which has been floured.
Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
Roll out one part of the pastry into a piece that will cover the base of your pan.
Line the pan with the pastry.
Use a cutlery knife to trim any ragged edges.
Scoop the filling onto the pastry leaving a gap around the edges. Brush the pastry around the gap with some water.
Roll out the second piece of dough into the same size as the first and cover the filling with the pastry.
Press the edges of the pastry together.
Using a cutlery fork crimp around the edges.
Using a knife score out 12 square pieces but be carefully not to slice right through the pastry.
Brush the pastry with some plant milk.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
The fruit slice will still be pale when removed from the oven but will have light golden parts especially around the edges, and the pastry will be firm.
Sprinkle the fruit slice with caster sugar, or if that's not available just use granulated sugar.
Leave the fruit slice to cool within the tin.
Once cool use a sharp knife to slice completely the scored pieces.
Enjoy a piece with a nice cup of tea or your favourite beverage. You deserve it!
Many good Scottish folks love a traditional square of fruit slice during the festive season and it is especially delicious on Christmas Eve with a tasty hot chocolate, tea or coffee.
Vegan fruit slice is perfect for the cake tin and any guests will surely love being treated to a piece.
Fruit slice will keep fresh for 3-4 days within a cake or food container.
Wrap in kitchen foil for additional freshness.
Or freeze the fruit slice for up to 3 months within a freezer-safe container.
Of course, warm fruit slice is very tasty.
Reheat within a warm oven, microwave, or within an air fryer, until the fruit slice has heated through.
Enjoy with some tasty hot vegan custard for a delicious, satisfying pudding. Or serve with a scoop of vegan ice cream, vegan whipped cream or drizzle with vegan pouring cream [such as Alpro single soya cream].
More traditional and old-school vegan bakes that family, friends and guests will love
Wee Granny cakes [the best ever little fruit cupcakes]
Traditional Irish Fifteens [easy refrigerator bake]
British School dinners Concrete cake [definitely one for tea dunking!]
Jam and Coconut sponge traybake [perfect with custard]
Chocolate sponge traybake [with an easy chocolate ganache and amazing served with vegan pouring cream]
Traditional fruit loaf cake [always a winner with everyone even those who dislike fruit cake!]
Scottish Fruit Slice (fly cemetery!)
- shallow baking tray about 11 by 8 ½ inch [can be an inch or so smaller or slightly larger]
- parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Mixing bowl
- non-stick medium saucepan
- 275 Grams plain flour [all-purpose flour]
- 175 Grams vegan margarine [vegan butter/baking spread]
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 50 Grams granulated sugar [or caster sugar/powdered sugar]
- 250 Grams currants
- 100 Grams sultanas
- 50 Grams raisins
- 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 Teaspoon mixed spice powder [or ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ginger powder or 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice powder]
- 1 Tablespoon plant milk [such as soya/oat or your usual milk]
- 2 Tablespoon caster sugar [or granulated sugar]
Prepare the shortcrust pastry:
- Add the flour and salt to a mixing bowl. Break the margarine up into small clumps and add to the flour. Using your finger tips rub the margarine into the flour until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.275 Grams plain flour, ⅛ teaspoon salt, 175 Grams vegan margarine
- Stir through the sugar.50 Grams granulated sugar
- Pour in 3-4 tablespoons of water and using a mixing spoon stir for a minute or so until the mixture begins to clump together. Using the back of the spoon press the clumps together. If the dough is very dry sprinkle in a few more drops of water and work it through.
- Using floured hands press the mixture into a ball of pastry dough. If the dough is sticky just sprinkle in some extra flour. Gently knead the dough for a few seconds just until it has come together into a smooth-ish ball. Wrap in cling film or an alternative and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to chill. [the pastry can be prepped a day or two in advance]
Meanwhile prepare the filling:
- Add the currants, sultanas and raisins to a saucepan. Stir through the sugar and pour in 150ml of water.250 Grams currants, 100 Grams sultanas, 50 Grams raisins, 2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- Bring to the boil and over a low heat simmer for 9-10 minutes until most of the water has evaporated. Stir frequently. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. [the filling can be prepped earlier on in the day before its required or even the day before]
- Stir the mixed spice powder through the stewed dried fruit.1 Teaspoon mixed spice powder
Assemble and bake:
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan/ 180C/ 356 Fahrenheit/Gas 4.
- Grease the baking pan and line with baking parchment.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of flour over your surface.Slice the pastry into two pieces. A weighing scale will help ensure each piece weighs the same.
- Roll out one slice into a piece that will cover the bottom of the tray. Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and lift it up and place into the tray, Use a small knife to trim any ragged edges.
- Scoop the dried fruit mixture and place over the pastry leaving a small gap around the edges.
- Brush the edges with a little water so the pastry lid can be sealed when it is placed over.
- Roll the second piece of pastry into the same size as the first and place it over the pie to cover.
- Any trimmed pastry pieces can be used to patch up any areas of the pastry lid that may have broken during assembly. Use a little water to seal any fixes. Once baked these fixes will not be very noticeable.
- Using a cutlery fork crimp the edges of the pastry together. Score 12 portions with a knife but be careful to not score all the way through.
- Brush the pastry with the plant milk.1 Tablespoon plant milk
- Bake on the middle oven shelf for 35-40 minutes. When baked the pie will still be pale but will have light golden parts especially around the edges, and the pastry will be firm.
- Sprinkle sugar over the pie as soon as it is removed from the oven.2 Tablespoon caster sugar
- Leave the pie to cool within the baking pan. Once cool slice through the scored portions completely.
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not intended to be used as a strict analysis as ingredients vary.
- Store fruit slice, for 3-4 days, within a covered cake container or wrap in kitchen foil and store within a food tub or cake/biscuit tin.
- Fruit slice can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost on the counter to room temperature.
- Reheat fruit slice within a warm oven for a few minutes until heated through, or within an air-fryer, or microwave for 60 seconds or so.
- Serve with hot vegan custard, or a scoop of vegan ice-cream, or a drizzle of vegan pouring cream for an extra special traditional dessert.
- Instead of currants, raisins, and sultanas use an already prepared dried fruit mix [those intended for fruit cakes/Christmas puddings].
- Instead of mixed spice powder, use ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder and ½ teaspoon of ginger powder, or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice mix or apple pie spice mix.
- For a quick fly pie use shop-bought shortcrust pastry and/or shop-bought mincemeat [the kind intended for festive sweet mince pies]. Check the shop-bought pastry ingredients as many are accidently vegan.
- Use a vegan margarine, butter or baking spread that copes well with being baked such as Stork. Don't use lite/light versions or low-fat/diet, etc as these tend to contain too much water.
Prepared this tasty Scottish fruit slice?
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Thanks so much, Jacq x