Gluten Free Vegan Pineapple Ginger Crumb Bars
Very exciting stuff – Casey passed a pineapple challenge a few weeks ago! He’s been wanting to try it forever but had a reaction as a baby to it. The day after he passed the challenge he woke up with a terrible bout of the flu. Because he was ill our allergist advised against him having it again until he was well. Now that he’s back in form, I wanted to make Casey a special pineapple dessert for Easter and to bring to go away on our Spring break next week, and these easy crumb bars came together and are an instant hit with literally everyone who have tried them. 🍍🙌🏻
The beauty of these bars is that it uses all pantry staples, so you don’t even need to get a fresh pineapple! 🤯 I used canned crushed pineapple when I couldn’t get out of the house last week when we were all getting over the flu, and I was desperate to bake and stared at my Casey-safe shelves for inspiration. There is nothing extra or fancy needed-in fact, it was one of the easiest adaptations for a Top 8 + Free recipe that I have ever done. All you need is your safe flour and butter/vegan butter and you’re ready to go. They come together in a snap and can be enjoyed start to finish in a hair over an hour!
Enjoy your Spring and all the lightness it brings, whether it be our food cravings or the fever to get out and get some fresh air! Be well and remember life is short so eat dessert first…safely! 👩🏻🍳💙
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**
Ingredients and Substitutions
Vegan butter, shortening or regular butter– This is a recipe where any of your safe substitutions will work, whether it’s vegan or regular shortening (I like Spectrum), vegan butter or margarine, or real butter. I do not recommend using coconut oil or vegetable oil for this. You need a solid fat for the crumbs and base; coconut oil gets too soft, and the crumbs will sink.
Flour – I use gluten free flour here but regular all-purpose is perfectly fine if you don’t need to avoid. I do recommend using a scale to measure because different blends are sensitive to weight. The proportion is 140 g. per 1 cup of flour. An overmeasurement on the flour will cause it to be gummy. If your gluten free flour blend does not contain xanthan gum, add ¼ tsp. per 1 c. of flour. The xanthan gum is necessary to give the baked good structure in the absence of gluten. I use King Arthur Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend.
Pineapple (fresh or canned) – It’s your choice which version you’d like to use in the recipe, but if you use fresh it is a bit more work, that’s all! Feel the bottom of a fresh pineapple-it should be yellow and have a touch of softness. Give it a sniff and if you get that sweet smell, you know it’s ripe. For canned, Dole is safe for Casey. I like keeping it on hand for quick recipes.
**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs.**
Gluten Free Vegan Pineapple Ginger Crumb Bars
Author: Katie Martino Lopez
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Bake Time: in total from two bakes, 45 minutes
Total Time: About one hour, 15 minutes or less
Yield: 12-16 square bars
Bar Base/Crumb Topping
- 1 ½ c. (210 g.) gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum or AP wheat flour
- ¾ c. (6 oz.) vegan or regular butter or shortening, room temperature
- ½ c. sugar
- ¾ tsp. ground ginger (or a touch less to taste)
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained but not too dry OR 1 ½ c. fresh pineapple, crushed in a food processor and drained of excess juice
- 3 Tbls. sugar
- 2 Tbls. cornstarch or arrowroot
- 2 Tbls. lemon juice
- 4 Tbls. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” square pan and set aside.
- For the crust/crumbs – Either in a medium bowl with a pastry blender or a with a mixer, blend flour, safe butter, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together to make large moist crumbs. It is very important the butter be at room temperature to get the right consistency.
- Reserve a generous 1 c. of crumbs and set aside. Press the rest of the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Prick the crust lightly with a fork.
- Bake immediately for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Keep an eye on the crust if your pan is dark metal-it will absorb heat and bake a bit faster.
- For the filling – While the crust is baking, make the pineapple filling. In a small, heavy bottom NOT ALUMINUM pan, combine the drained pineapple, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and water. Mix well to combine.
- Cook over low heat, stirring very often, until thickened. It can very easily burn and stick to the bottom from the high sugar content in the fruit so stir often. Remove from the heat and add vanilla. This must be done after cooking, so the extract does not evaporate over the heat.
- When crust comes out of the oven, spread the hot pineapple filling evenly over the crust. It may not look like a lot but trust me it’s plenty! Too much would be overly sweet.
- Scatter remaining crumbs over the top, breaking up large clumps. It will not cover the top but that’s what we want! The fruit should come through.
- Bake immediately for 25-30 minutes or until light brown.
- Cool for a few minutes and enjoy warm or cooled. Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temp or the fridge for a few days but expect it to soften because of the moisture on the fruit. A few minutes in a warm oven will crisp the crumbs right back up!
- The crumb bars freeze beautifully for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator and warm in the oven to re-crisp the crumbs.
- If using fresh pineapple, it can be cut and crushed up to one day in advance, but DO NOT store in a metal bowl! Drain fruit before using. Frozen fruit can be used as well but it must be defrosted and drained.
As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…
Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.
And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!