Fruit Slice (Fly Cemetery)

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Fruit Slice – also known as “Fly Cemetery” – is a deliciously rich pastry traybake, filled with a generous amount of spiced currants. Can you guess where it gets it’s somewhat unappetising pet-name?

Fly Cemetery, also known as Fruit Slice. Pastry filled with currants, which when baked looks like dead flies. Traditional Scottish recipe from Baking with Granny.

There’s something about us Scots and our love of questionable foods. Haggis is the obvious one (love it), Lorne sausage, macaroni pies, deep-fried Mars Bar and even Irn Bru cupcakes – Scotland is famed for it’s love of “unique” foods. And it could only be the Scots who would come up with a pet-name such as “Fly Cemetery” for a sweet little pastry treat like Fruit Slice.

Ever-so simple and a lot more tasty than it’s pet-name may suggest, Fruit Slice is a melt-in-the-mouth short crust pastry treat, loaded with currants and lashings of sugar.

It gets it’s pet-name from it’s appearance, rather than it’s flavour. Not for the weak stomached; it’s simply because of the currants resemblance too, well, lots of dead flies! Our Granny can even recall when her own Papa would pick out the currants and joke that they were delicious little flies! Yum…?

I was quite surprised just how many people were chuffed to receive a piece of Fruit Slice when I made it recently. I didn’t used to be a huge fan of currants myself, so I was unsure of how many people would be happy to take some off my hands. But it turns out there’s already been requests for another batch!

Fly Cemetery, also known as Flies Graveyard. Classic Scottish recipe from Baking with Granny.
"Wish I’d have found this recipe years ago…so easy ! My Dad loved these 'Flies Cemeteries', would have loved to have made him these. I’m having a little trip down memory lane."
Ann

Step-by-Step Video:

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Fly Cemetery, also known as Currant Slice. Traditional British recipe, from Baking with Granny.

Granny's Top Tips

•  Traditionally speaking, Fly Cemetery uses currants but you can mix it up to suit your own taste. Raisins, sultanas, cranberries, mixed peel…all can make a nice addition.

• If you want your Fruit Slice to be a little sweeter and little more special, instead of dusting with caster sugar after baking, wait until it is completely cool and spread a layer of water icing (icing sugar, mixed with a little water or lemon juice).

• Why not mix things up (and make eating messier) by trying Fruit Slice with puff pastry for a change?

• Some bakers have suggested in the comments to add a spoonful of jam or marmalade to the filling mixture. It’s not something I have personally tried but an intriguing idea!

Flea Cemetery Slice recipe from Baking with Granny. Pastry slice, filled with currants and spices.
Fly Cemetery, also known as Currant Slice. Traditional British recipe, from Baking with Granny.

Fruit Slice (Fly Cemetery)

Fruit Slice - also known as "Fly Cemetery" - is a deliciously rich pastry traybake, filled with a generous amount of spiced currants. Can you guess where it gets it's somewhat unappetising pet-name?
4.95 from 17 votes
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Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British, Irish, Scottish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

For the Pastry

For the Filling

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°c (or 160°c for a fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 4) and grease a 20cm by 28cm baking tray with a little butter. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using your fingers, rub the flour and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar before adding the egg. Mix until combined, adding a teaspoon of cold water as required and knead into a soft pastry dough.
  • Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to cool and firm up, whilst preparing the filling.
  • In a bowl mix the currants, sugar, butter and mixed spice until combined.
  • Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll to 0.5cm thickness and cut into two large rectangles, about the size of your tray. Place on pastry rectangle onto your pre-greased tray.
  • Spoon the currant mixture evenly onto the pastry on the baking tray, leaving a small gap around the edges. Wet the edges with a little water. Place the other sheet of pastry on top of the currants and gently press the edges together with your fingers, before finishing with a fork.
  • Brush the top pastry with a little milk or beaten egg, before pricking a few holes on the top of the pastry
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until a light golden brown colour.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle a little sugar on top to finish. Once completely cool, cut into squares or slices of your desired size.

Notes

You can use Ready Roll Short Crust Pastry if you prefer, or are in a hurry.
Tried this recipe?Tag @bakingwithgranny or use the hashtag #bakingwithgranny!
Fruit Slice Fly Cemetery
Fruit Slice Fly Cemetery

65 Responses

  1. Cheers for an easy to follow recipe :) My mum calls it ‘fly paper cake’ :D looking forward to eating it!

  2. This currant slice lacks love, to improve ,,being a chef, this product to me is just dried currants between 2 slabs of pastry, boring, how about binding the currants with currant jam, not to liquid, but thick jam, so it dosent run into the pastry, this product with a cup of char, would be a gastronomical delight

    1. I grew up just after the war making this with freshly chopped mint and the whole idea was NOT to make it too sweet but have a contrast between the short pastry and the sweet fruit. Sugar and jam weren’t available until 1953.
      People eat (and have become used to) far, far too much sugar, so we should be using this original recipe, not spoiling it by overloading it with jam.
      This recipe could be adapted to make Christmas pies with a fruit mix and citrus zest.
      Thanks Granny

    2. Oh dear Happychappie you’re treading on my childhood! We’re not looking for gastronomic delights we’re reliving happiness and memories so put your currant jam back in the cupboard

      1. Delicious, thank you for recipe. Must confess used bought pastry and added half an eating apple, chopped.

  3. Wish I’d have found this recipe years ago…so easy ! My Dad loved these “Flies Cemeteries” and Eccles Cakes, would have loved to have made him these. I’m having a little trip down memory lane.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Ann. Fly Cemetery is definitely one that brings back memories for people. We’re also looking a sharing a Eccles Cake recipe in the near future so be sure to keep checking back :)

      1. That would be brilliant. I grew up in the town where Eccles cakes were first made. Nothing like a proper Eccles cake. But also loved currant slice. Both made by my Gran and Mum.

        1. oh so too did I , my Grans Eccles Cakes have yet to be beaten ( that and her Suet Crust and her fresh potato cakes with butter on a cold Cadishead night) Funny, if ever I have anything similar it just brings back the best memories

      2. I have just found your site and love it – here in Australia. These sound just like my eccles cake that I made last week but added mixed peel and lemon zest. Thank you.

    1. Hi, I am in UK,my jar of mixed spice listed the ingredients as Dried orange peel(60%), Cassia, Ginger, Nutmeg, Pimentoes, Caraway seeds

    2. 5 stars
      I’ve always suspected that so-called “mixed spice” was actually Allspice, which is an actual berry from Jamaica and it tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and pepper. Wrong! “Mixed spice” is just that – a mix of cinnamon, cloves (go easy!), nutmeg, mace and ginger. Just put a little of the baking spices you like and you’ll be fine.

  4. yes!! Please tell us what you mean by “spice mix”?? what kind of spices are in it? We have a pumpkin pie spice mix here in the USA, is that what you mean?

  5. I added chopped dates, chopped apple and a good tbsp of marmalade to bind it together. It’s delicious.

  6. These were always a big hit after Christmas Dinner. Mom and Grandmother were from Dunfermline, Scotland and never heard them referred to as anything other than Currant squares.

  7. I’ve been making these years I know them as currant slices made with Ruff puff pastry from my mums old Bero cook book they are my husbands favourite cake.

    1. 5 stars
      We used to purchase these at a local bakery that closed a number of years ago, out of the blue my husband asked me to make some. Thank you for the recipe they went down a storm. I reduced the amount of sugar and next time I will try adding some jam (as suggested above) to bind it all together. Thanks again – these were very tasty

  8. I haven’t seen a fly cemetery for years, I live in New Zealand and every bakery used to have their own variation of them. We always called them that. A lost treasure.

    1. Kay they certainly are a lost treasure, I’m also from New Zealand and cannot find any old fashioned cake in the cafe’s I visit these days !

  9. 4 stars
    Fly cemetry was one of Mum’s signature bakes. She often filled it with mincemeat which made it lovely and moist. I can taste it now!

  10. Love this recipe!

    Thank you for sharing. Here in Yorkshire we call it “fly pie”. We used to get these from the local bakery when I was a child – but with an extra sweet layer of glacé icing on top.

    This was always a family favourite ( well? Anything dad really liked) that went along with Eccles cakes and Chorley cakes!!

    Lesley

  11. 5 stars
    Exceptionally good recipe for Flies Graveyard.
    It came out perfect. Just as the traditional fruit slice should be. No need to add jam as a previous baker suggested. I think it would make it too sticky and lose all the spices but I guess it’s down to personal preference.
    I added light soft brown sugar to the currant mix. I also made the pastry (handle it a little as possible). Then I cut it into 2 equal sizes, then put it in the freezer for 10 mins only and the pastry rolled out perfectly.
    This is another winner for me. Thank you!

    1. 5 stars
      I’m from Glasgow Scotland and my maw called the flys grave yards .
      my hubbies favourite so thanks for the recipe ,have a lovely Christmas everyone

  12. This was delicious. I made changes for US, but tried to keep the same. I used our all purpose flour and Irish butter since European butters have different fat and water. I’ve never used confectioners sugar in a short crust, but it’s fabulous. I used a silpat liner on a quarter sheet pan. I would roll out thinner, say closer to 1/8 of an inch than the 1/4 inch thickness to get a larger surface. A 350 oven needed at least 40 minutes. It was so easy and delicious. I bought the mixed spice from the Boston Spice Co, and I’m glad I did. It’s quite different from the pumpkin or apple pie spices in the US. It tasted more like the spices we use in my family’ Scandinavian deserts.
    I did weigh all the ingredients, and followed directions exactly. This was such a pleasant memory of when I lived for a bit in The UK as a girl. Wonderful find!

  13. 5 stars
    Greetings from Western Australia!
    I grew up in the 1960’s eating “FLY PIE”. Have always loved it and until the turn of the century, it could be found in most corner delis/lunch shops. Then it seemed to fall out of favour. Unbelievable!
    Then, while I was in hospital a few years ago, I went down to the coffee shop run by the Women’s Auxiliary and there it was! When I asked for a slice of Fly Pie, the woman behind the counter looked both confused and horrified until another lady leaned over to her and whispered very loudly “She means Fruit Slice” & winked st me… Okay, so it was funnier at the time but to be honest, I had never heard it called anything but Fly Pie.
    Looking forward to making your recipe for a Christmas get-together in a couple of weeks.
    Thank you (& Merry Cheers)

  14. Any usa cooks have the measurements in cups and degrees farenhite? I make garibaldi cookies and we LOVE them! This looks so similar, I know we would love these too. Thanks for the recipe. Now I have to go figure out the measurements.

  15. So so excited to discover this recipe. I live in Australia and as a kid, we used to buy “Fly Cemetery “ from our local bakery after church on Sundays. It was a special treat. I hope my grandkids love it as much as I did.

  16. In my British family it was known as Currant Cake. I never knew why nor did my family and I thought of it as a misnomer. There is no written recipe but handed down by mouth. We use a pastry with lard and butter and a bit if sugar and pinch of salt. The currants are soaked for a short time, drained and put in the pics for ptray of pastry, sprinkled with sugar, spritzed with lemon juice, dotted with butter and covered with pastry. Sprinkled with sugar and cut team holes and baked. A true family favorite and was told it was made for birthdays and Christmas. I make it when I get a yen for it. Now I have a recipe. And a proper name.

  17. 5 stars
    I put brown sugar , lemon zest & lemon juice in with butter & currants & mixed spice- usually a wee drop of raisins as well I heat up the mixture to melt the butter & soften up the fruit.I add a wee drop milk to the residue in the pan & brush the pastry top with it – gives the pastry a nice flavour.

  18. So glad you called it fly cemetery. My dad 80 asked me if I knew how to make a fly graveyard, after turning various shades of green I asked him what did he mean and he described it. So I googled it, your post came up immediately, do definitely going to try this, this afternoon.

  19. 5 stars
    Love it! Want to make more but run out of dead flies!
    Long time ago, I used to buy a similar sweet treat with pastry top and bottom but filled with crushed hazelnuts. Not sure what binded it together but was delicious.
    Anyway, I shall certainly feast on more dead flies!

  20. My mothean amazing amazing fly pie. Using a mix of sultanas currants and raisins on top of the pastry base….then dotting blobs of butter on top……then drizzling syrup on top before covering with pastry. Yummy but so many calories!!!

  21. Oh my this is definitely a blast from my past, wasn’t too keen on them to start with, think the name put me off as a kid but over time got to love these, am so pleased to find this recipe I will definitely be making them Thank you

  22. 5 stars
    This recipe took me way longer than expected (probably because I’m not much cop at making pastry). But was it so worth the wait. I couldn’t believe how much better this tastes than the shop bought variety (which I love). I can’t go back to shop bought now. The fresh baked pastry was just sublime. Even after a week they still tasted better than the shop bought ‘cemetries’. Every friend that has tried these has given them ten out of ten and done the ‘Oh wow!’ face. Now I want to go and try out s stack of your other recipes.

  23. 5 stars
    Hey Amy
    Bonnie Scotland is freezing right now and with snow (I’m in France but son sent me pcs/vids) so keep warm doll. I decided to make these for hubby. Deeeelicious and I made double so I can freeze some.

  24. 5 stars
    Deeeeelish!!! My family loves it! My pan was slightly bigger – the pastry amount was still perfect but I had to double the filling portion. Definitely going to make this recipe often.

  25. Iv’e made something similar. But I just buy some store bought Mince Meat Fruit Pie Filling. Simple, easy and tastes great.

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Hello, I’m Amy, the voice-behind and creator-of Baking with Granny.

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