This Vegan Mincemeat Crumble Traybake is adapted from a Bero recipe from their 41st edition of the annual Bero cook books. This type of bake is also known as Crumble Bars, Mincemeat Crumble Slice, Fruit Crumble Slice, Mince Pie Crumble Bars or Slice, or Mincemeat Streusel Slice or Bars. Our dairy-free mincemeat crumble traybake can be sliced into 12 bars or 24 smaller squares and are deliciously easy mince pie alternatives.
A mincemeat crumble traybake has a soft but firm enough to pick up spiced shortbread buttery crust, a fruity rich mincemeat filling, and a sweet spiced crumbly melt-in-the-mouth crisp streusel or crumble topping. It has all the flavours of a festive fruit crumble or fruit crisp but in easy to slice and pick-up square or bar shapes. Traditionally, many people enjoy baking this mincemeat crumble traybake for a special Christmas and New Years treat.
Origin of mincemeat crumble traybake or crumble bars
Mincemeat crumble traybakes are popular especially during the festive Christmas season but the essence of the bake can be easily adapted for throughout the year - such as replacing the mincemeat with fruit jam, marmalade, applesauce, fruit curd, home-made cranberry sauce, cherry pie filling, any stewed fruits such as dates, figs, apples, plums, peaches, or pears.
Crumble slices or bars are also a favourite in many British bakeries and cafes, and many people have fond memories of enjoying something similar to a crumble bar with custard for school dinners.
The origin of mincemeat crumble traybake or crumble bars can be traced back to British traditional baking. The British fruit or apple crumble is similar to the US fruit crisp as both feature stewed fruits topped with a crumbly mixture.
Mincemeat has medieval origins as it was originally a way to preserve meat, mixing it with fruits, sugars, fat, alcohol, and spices. Over the centuries, especially by the Victorian era, the meat was removed, leaving the spiced fruit mixture which usually contained animal fat such as suet. Mincemeat was especially popular during the festive and Christmas season and was used for mince or minced pies and tarts.
Pastry shells filled with mincemeat.
Fruit crumble is thought to have been developed in Britain during World War II when rationing made many staple ingredients scarce. A simple mixture of flour, butter or margarine, and sugar was used as a topping for baked or stewed fruits, which created a budget-friendly, tummy-filling, sweet dessert known as a fruit crumble. However, crumbles were already in existence before the war as earlier recipes similar to crumbles have been discovered in cook books.
Combining mincemeat with crumble mixture is simply a variation of the medieval dried fruit pies [also known as Christmas pies, shred pies, or minced pies at various historical time periods] as a crumble topping contains basically the same staple ingredients as pastry.
A crumble traybake transforms a crumble pudding into a portable bar that can be picked up and eaten at room temperature, but a crumble bar has the additional bonus of also being easily turned into a dessert by reheating and enjoying with hot custard, cream, or ice-cream.
Jars of mincemeat is often reduced in price in UK supermarkets after Christmas has passed and as it stores really well, picking up a few jars for the pantry is a great idea as along with a few other staple ingredients a delicious sweet treat can be easily prepared.
Bero mincemeat crumble traybake
The original recipe for mincemeat crumble traybake [pg58] is from the Bero cookbook [41st edition]. We have made a few changes to the recipe just to adapt it to our own preferences and issues that arose while recipe testing.
The Bero recipe advices to mix the flour and butter in a food processor but due to the ratio of fat to the flour the mix is at risk of being over-mixed and instead of a crumble it can quickly turn into a pastry! To fix this issue we had to increase the amount of flour as we found the original amount not enough to prepare the crumble topping as the fat content made the mixture too stodgy rather than crumbly.
We also decided the rubbing in method - using fingertips to mix the flour and fat into a breadcrumb like texture - gave the best control over the crumble. In the US, the technique of rubbing the fat and flour together is more often achieved by using two cutlery knifes and quickly cutting in the fat into the flour.
We also decided to switch the sugar from muscovado to demerara sugar, as we had demerara in the pantry and always find that demerara provides a nice crunch to crumble toppings.
Additionally, we decided to add ground cinnamon as well as the mixed spice, as we really enjoy the flavour of cinnamon streusel and wanted to have more of the cinnamon flavour within the crumble bar. The extra spice really works well.
Finally, the original Bero recipe calls for butter but we easily replaced the butter with Stork baking margarine or spread [which is labelled vegan] to create a dairy-free crumble traybake.
Incidentally, if you also like cinnamon streusel we do have a Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake recipe which is one of our family favourite cakes especially with our daughter who usually requests if for her birthday, or for an afternoon tea cake which she takes to her allotment along with her flask of tea!
How to prepare
You only need 6 ingredients to prepare this mincemeat crumble traybake. The bottom crust and topping is prepared together as its the same mixture, and the only difference is that the bottom crust is pressed together into the baking tray whereas the rest of the crumble topping is sprinkled over the top.
Step 1: Gather all your ingredients - self-raising flour [or plain/ all-purpose flour with 1 and ¾ [quarters] teaspoons of baking powder sifted through and a few pinches of salt], a jar of mincemeat or home-made mincemeat, demerara sugar, margarine or butter, mixed spice powder [or pumpkin spice powder/apple pie spice mix], and ground cinnamon.
Step 2: Add the flour and margarine to a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips rub the margarine into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs.
Step 3: Stir through the sugar, ground cinnamon and mixed spice powder.
Step 4: Add half the mixture to a baking pan and press it down evenly and firmly until the base is covered.
Step 5: Cover the pressed mixture with the mincemeat.
Step 6: Sprinkle the rest of the crumble mixture over the mincemeat and sprinkle over the extra sugar.
Step 7: Bake for 35 minutes. Leave the crumble traybake in the baking pan until it is completely cool - at least a few hours as the traybake will set firm as it cools.
Step 8: Remove the traybake from the pan and sit it on a cutting board. Slice the traybake into 12 bars and then slice each bar into 24 squares if a smaller serving is preferred.
The above first image shows three small crumble squares and the second image shows three small crumble squares and one larger crumble bars.
Store the crumble bars in a cake or biscuit tin or food container for 4-5 days, possibly a day longer if stored somewhere cool. Add a layer of baking or parchment paper on the bottom of the container, as well as between layers of the crumble bars and finish with a paper layer on the top.
Or freeze, stacked in a freezer container for 2-3 months - adding a slice of baking paper between the layers to avoid the bars freezing on top of each other.
Yes, if you would like to serve this crumble traybake as a warm dessert you can reheat crumble slices or bars in the oven at the baking temperature for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.
Technically, you can eat the traybake after baking as in essence it is a type of fruit crumble or crisp which are designed to be eaten warm for dessert. However, do keep in mind that the crust base and the crumble topping firms up as it cools so the traybake will be extra crumbly if removed from the baking pan whilst still hot.
A nice cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, or a chilled glass of plant-based milk is the ideal accompaniment to a crumble bar. For reheated warm crumble bars hot vegan custard, ice-cream, pouring cream or whipped cream are delicious accompaniments.
Mincemeat is a traditional mixture often used during the festive season, especially in Britain. Despite what its name suggests, modern mincemeat doesn't usually contain meat. Instead, it's a sweet mixture made up of a variety of ingredients including dried fruits like raisins, currants, and sultanas, as well as apples, sugar, spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice), fruit zest, suet, and sometimes alcohol like brandy or rum. However, fruit juice often replaces the alcohol. This mixture which is in essence a type of preserve, is typically left to mature for a few weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
Historically mincemeat did include actual meat (like beef or mutton), alongside the fruits and spices, which is where the name originates. Over time, the recipe evolved into the sweet version and the meat was omitted.
Mincemeat is used to prepare mince pies which are an essential staple of a British Christmas, but it can also be used to prepare other recipes such as mincemeat cake, mincemeat crumble, mincemeat scones, mincemeat pancakes, mincemeat porridge, ice cream with mincemeat stirred through, and of course mincemeat crumble traybake!
Yes, you can definitely use a home-made mincemeat.
The mincemeat can be replaced with fruit jam, fruit curd, marmalade, applesauce, home-made cranberry sauce, cherry pie filling, or any stewed fruits such as stewed dried fruits such as dates or figs, stewed apples, pears, peaches, or plums. However, ensure that your stewed fruits do not have a lot of liquid as that could result in a soggy crumble bar!
if you can't source mixed spice powder you can replace it with apple pie spice mix or pumpkin pie spice mix.
If you can't source self-raising flour, or self-rising flour, then you can use plain flour or all-purpose flour but with one and a three quarters teaspoons of baking powder sifted through and a few pinches of salt stirred through.
Demerara sugar is a type of raw cane sugar with a large grain and a pale amber colour. It's partly refined but retains some of the natural molasses, giving it a rich, caramel-like flavour. Demerara sugar is often used in baking for its crunchy texture and depth of flavour, and it's also popular as a topping for desserts or in hot drinks for its unique flavour.
Demerara sugar has larger, coarser crystals, and a higher moisture content compared with granulated sugar so this adds to the crumbly crunchiness of the crumble topping. Demerara sugar has a slightly caramel-like, toffee flavour due to its natural molasses content and this richness complements the spiced, fruity flavours of the mincemeat.
Yes, you can use muscovado sugar instead of demerara sugar if preferred. However, muscovado sugar is darker in colour, and has a stronger molasses flavour and a moist sticky texture which might slightly alter the texture and taste of the crumble, making it denser and more bittersweet.
Many people dislike making home-made pastry so crumble traybake is the perfect way to avoid pastry-making yet still have a home-baked treat with similar textures and flavours to mince pies!
More vegan recipes that feature dried fruits
Dried fruits have been used for sweet and savoury recipes in Britain for many centuries and date back to at least the Medieval Times. We love dried fruit recipes so we are always adding them to our traditional recipes.
We also love classic festive mince pies but sometimes, especially when its not Christmas, we like a mince-pie alternative and besides our mincemeat crumble bar we love this homely Scottish Border Tart and this bakery and cafe favourite - Scottish Fruit Slice.
For an easy warm winter pudding this wee Dried Fruit Crumble served up in individual ramekins or soufflé dishes with a little plant-based cream or hot custard is a tasty option and it has the added bonus that all the ingredients are pantry staple ones.
For afternoon tea or even for a festive breakfast or brunch option, along with a special fruit jam or even a dollop of whipped cream [we like the Elmlea plant double cream whipped up], our Edinburgh Fruit Scones are loved by everyone who tastes them!
***please note: for US measurements click the 'US customary button' within the recipe and the measurements will switch to tablespoons, cups, and ounces.***
Vegan Mincemeat Crumble Traybake
- Baking pan around the size - 11 x 7 x 1¼ inch [28 x 13 x 3 cm]
- Baking paper. [parchment paper]
- Mixing bowl
- mixing spoon
- small spatula
- 280 grams self-raising flour [or plain/all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons of baking powder sifted through and a few pinches of salt mixed through]
- 225 grams margarine [chilled, we used Stork baking spread]
- 70 grams demerara sugar [or muscovado sugar]
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice powder [or apple pie spice mix or pumpkin pie spice mix]
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 411 grams jar of mincemeat
Add to the top:
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- Preheat oven to 160 Fan, 180C, 350 Fahrenheit, Gas 4.
- Grease the baking pan with margarine and line it with the baking paper leaving a small overlap around the pan edges as this will help when the time comes to remove the baked traybake.
- Add the flour and margarine to a mixing bowl and using your finger tips rub the margarine into the flour until it looks similar to a bread crumb texture. Some chunkier bits may remain but these can be rubbed in more once the sugar is added.[Use chilled margarine or vegan butter as this will work better for preparing the crumble mixture]280 grams self-raising flour, 225 grams margarine
- Stir through the mixed spice, cinnamon, and sugar. Rub any of the large chunks into smaller crumbs but don't worry if some larger pieces remain.70 grams demerara sugar, 2 teaspoons mixed spice powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Now, remove half the mixture and tip it into the baking pan. Using your finger tips or a small spatula press it down firmly and evenly over the bottom of the pan. We used two extra tablespoons of the mixture from the bowl for the base as it was required to evenly cover the base.
- Next, cover the base evenly with the mincemeat.411 grams jar of mincemeat
- Sprinkle the rest of the mixture evenly over the top of the mincemeat. Don't pat the mixture down as you want it to stay crumbly. It will set firm once its baked and cooled so don't worry that you won't be able to pick the crumble bars up as they will be crumbly but still firm.
- Sprinkle the extra sugar over the top covering up any gaps.2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- Bake on the middle shelf for 35 minutes until crisp and golden. The traybake is baked when the top is golden and firm and this generally takes 35 minutes. If using a fan oven check at the 30 minute mark as fan ovens tend to bake a few minutes quicker.
- Leave the traybake to completely cool within the baking pan as while cooling it will set firm and be much easier to slice into bars or squares.
- Once cool, use the baking paper to help remove the tray bake and then use a sharp knife to slice 12 bars and then if preferred slice the bars in half to create 24 squares.
- Nutritional information is for guidance only and is not an exact calculation as ingredients vary.
- Store the crumble bars in a cake or biscuit tin or food container for 4-5 days, possibly a day longer if stored somewhere cool. Add a layer of baking or parchment paper on the bottom of the container, as well as between layers of the crumble bars and finish with a paper layer on the top.
- Or freeze, stacked in a freezer container for 2-3 months - adding a slice of baking paper between the layers to avoid the bars freezing on top of each other.
- For a crumble variation the mincemeat can be replaced with applesauce, fruit jam, fruit curd, home-made cranberry sauce, cherry pie filling, or a stewed fruit such as dried dates or figs, apples, pears, peaches, or plums. However, don't use very runny or wet stewed fruits as it may result in a soggy crumble bar. So ensure that any excess liquid is strained off the stewed fruits.
- Mixed spice powder can be replaced with pumpkin spice powder or apple spice powder.
- Our mincemeat crumble traybake is adapted from a Bero recipe from their 41st edition. However, we use Stork baking margarine instead of dairy butter, have increased the amount of flour required, added ground cinnamon, used demerara sugar instead of muscovado sugar, and added extra sugar to the topping for extra crunch. We also choose to rub the margarine and flour with our fingertips rather than use a food processer as we found that using a food processor ran the risk of over-mixing and the result was pastry dough rather than crumble!
- For a vegan traybake ensure that your jarred mincemeat does not contain animal suet or butter.
- We used Stork baking spread or margarine for this bake and it was labelled as vegan.
- If your not vegan or plant-based you can substitute the margarine for butter.
Prepared our Vegan Mincemeat Crumble Traybake? We would love to know how you got on with the recipe so do drop us a comment below and click the star ratings. It's very much appreciated. Thanks so much! Love Jacq x