Paradise Squares

I won’t try to claim that these traybakes will transport you to a tropical island.  If that is your idea of paradise.  Perhaps your idea of paradise is sitting in my kitchen in the middle of a New England winter watching Little Miss Traybakes paint a masterpiece with her new watercolor set while ignoring the housework?  No?!  Unfortunately, that’s all that I can offer right now.  That, and a recipe for these Paradise Squares traybakes.

I have multiple recipe variations for this traybake.  Some have cherries or sultanas.  Some include flour, others only have ground almonds.  Some have coconut. So, while there is a chance that these are not exactly the Paradise Squares you remember, the basic concept of a crisp pastry base, sticky raspberry jam and a soft, cherry-filled almondy sponge should be pretty similar.

As with several of the recipes so far, this one was fairly vague on some of the directions.  It assumes you know how to make shortcrust pastry.  Or it assumes you know how to buy it?!  It also says nothing about blind baking the pastry, and while you can leave out this step in the process, the pastry does come out a little undercooked.

I’ve given quantities for enough pastry to line a 9inch/23cm square tin, which is what I used.  If your tin is larger, you will probably need to increase the quantities for your pastry.

Now, these aren’t an overly sweet traybake (compared to some of them!) and, in fact, I didn’t include any sugar in the pastry recipe but I kind of like it like that.


Pastry base

6oz/170g plain flour (all-purpose flour)

4oz/110g butter

1 egg

pinch of salt


raspberry jam

4oz/110g sugar

4oz/110g butter

4oz/110g ground almonds (almond flour)

3oz/85g ground rice (rice flour)

2 eggs

2oz/55g self-raising flour (or plain flour + ½ tsp baking powder)

4oz/110g glacé cherries, chopped

1.  Make the pastry (or buy some shortcrust pastry, I won’t judge you!).  Rub the butter into the flour and salt until it looks like breadcrumbs.  Then add the beaten egg and mix until it comes together.  You might need a splash of cold water at this stage if it’s still a little dry, but I found the egg was enough.  Knead briefly to bring it all together and put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes or so.  I made my pastry my hand, but you can use a food processor.

2.  Roll out the pastry to about 0.5cm thickness and use it to line a 9inch/23cm square tin.

3.  Blind bake the pastry in a preheated 350F/180C oven  for around 20 minutes.  Use parchment paper and baking beans if you have them but I’d also recommend pricking the base with a fork to prevent the pastry rising too much.

4.  Leave the pastry to cool a little and then spread the base with the raspberry jam.  I probably used about 8-10 tbsp.

5.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Then add the eggs, a little at a time, and beat some more.

6.  Add the rest of ingredients to this and mix well.  Carefully spread over the base, trying not to disturb the jam too much.

7.  Bake at 350F/180C for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven, dust the top with sugar and leave to cool in the tin before slicing into squares and enjoying a taste of paradise.  Apparently.