Monday, December 6, 2010

Baking for Nightshift- Christmas Mince Tarts

Last night was my second of two overtime night shifts. As usual I slept badly in the middle of them so when I got up I thought I would make something to take to work. I had already made cupcakes (to be posted on later), for the first night shift so I thought it was time to get into the Christmas spirit and use some of my Xmas mince and whip up some of these. I make a fresh batch of Xmas mince each year to use the following year. I keep mine in the fridge where it lasts for around 15 months. This time I tried some of the tarts with the freshly made mince and some with the aged mince to see if there was a taste difference. I think the aged stuff has more complexity of flavour. It seemed to lack a bit of 'sharpness' and to my taste I think it tastes better. Here it is in the food processor and in the jars...

In the food processor

Ready for the fridge

The recipe I use is one that a friend gave me a few years back and I really like it. Sometimes I put things like dried cranberries in it but this year I kept it quite traditional with sultanas, raisins and currants. I also like to process mine as I would rather not have whole fruit especially as the tarts I make tend to be made in a mini muffin tin so are therefore quite small. 

Christmas Mince

400 gm sultanas
400 gm mixed fruit (I used raisins and currants)
3 small apples unpeeled but cored and chopped up roughly
1 lemon, rind and juice
1 orange, rind only
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp grd cloves
1/2 tsp grd nutmeg
1/3 c brandy, whiskey or rum 

Mince fruit and apple in a a food processor (not until it's smooth though). Add all other ingredients and process. Spoon into clean jars and store in the fridge.

For the pastry I have tried many different recipes but the one I used last night is the best so far. It's short, but not too short, and complemented and carried the Xmas mince perfectly. I adapted it a bit so here is the recipe...

Sweet Pastry

2 c flour
1/2 c icing sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 Tbsp iced water
175 gm cold butter

In the processor mix the flour and icing sugar. Add the cold butter and process until it makes fine crumbs. Add the egg and the water and process until it almost comes together. Don't over do the processing unless you want tough pastry.

Tip out onto the bench and bring it together. Spray the tins with oil or baking spray then roll the pastry into balls (about 20 gm each is perfect), and tamper them in with one of these, (or else roll the pastry out and cut out circles to line the tins which can be quite time consuming). 

Available from Milly's
Put the pastry lined tins in the freezer for at least a half hour. Save some pastry for the stars, roll and cut those out, put them on a plate and put in the fridge or freezer until you need them. Fill with Xmas mince, put the stars on top and bake at 180 C for about 15-20 mins. Take out from the tins as soon as you can.

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