Gluten Free Damson Crumble Bars

Saturday, 22 September 2012

The story of these bars began when my neighbour knocked on my door with a big bag of damsons from the tree in her garden.  I love a challenge like this, what to make?  Thoughts jumped from jam, to a crumble, made a weird detour to ponder a smoothie then sense prevailed (too sour) and I settled upon these crumble bars I had seen earlier in the week on the lovely blog Sweet Amandine.  I had to adapt the recipe to make them gluten free.  This is always a bit of a challenge, especially when a recipe is given in cups rather than by weight.  You could substitute cup for cup if you have an all purpose gluten free flour but I didn’t so I set about approximating the correct weights.  I decided to throw some gluten free oats in as part of my substitution for the flour to give the bars more texture.  It worked like a dream.  These bars are buttery, sweet and crumbly.  The rather sour damsons are transformed when baked in the oven.  I was happy to be able to present my neighbour with a few of these bars to thank her for the damsons.
Recipe adapted from Sweet Amandine
200g (7oz) brown rice flour
50g (2oz) tapioca flour
50g (2oz) gluten free oats
150g brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
225g (8oz) cold unsalted butter, cubed.
1 large egg
10-15 damsons or 5 or so plums
Sugar to sprinkle on top
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5, 190°C, 375°F
Grease a 9x13 inch pan with butter.
First off cutting up the damsons.  Unlike plums it is very hard to get the stone out neatly so I basically cut down straight either side of the stone which meant I did lose a bit of damson.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, oats, sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Next add the egg then the butter.  Work this in to the dry ingredients with your hands.  This will form a crumbly, lumpy dough.  Set aside about a cup of the dough.  Place the rest in your baking pan and press it down and out to the edges with your hands.  Lay the damson slices across the top.  Scatter the reserved cup of dough across the top then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden on top.  Leave to cool then slice in to squares.


  1. I've been in the uk for 3 years and even work at a farmer's market for god's sake but haven't tried a bloody damnson yet! eeks. this is really making me feel like I'm missing out. Urgh, got to get me some damsons soon. Also envious of the scene behind those damsons, the plants swayign lazily in the wind just remind me of relaxing autumn evenings. Ah...

    1. Thanks Shu Han. I hadn't tried a damson before this either and I've lived here all my life! They don't seem to be very widely available so looks like I lucked out with my neighbours tree... Hope you manage to find some :)