Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying the final lead up to the big day!
Here is my final festive recipe - star topped mini fruit mince tarts. I first made these two years ago, and was very sceptical as to whether I would like them. I don’t usually like fruit mince pies, or anything else that has dried fruit in it to be honest. So I was extremely surprised when I liked these tarts.
I made them so small as I think something like this needs to be small and dainty. The flavour is quite rich and I thought a little mouthful was all that was needed. You can make them bigger by using cupcake pans, or fruit mince pie pans if you have one. Use a larger cutter to cut out the pastry (about 7cm), and a larger star cutter for the tops. Making the mini version should get you about 60 tarts - which is good if you are feeding a crowd! Making them a bit larger should get you about 30 tarts.
The pastry for this recipe has been spiked with some extra festive flavours, but it can be a little harder to work with than normal pastry. I found it to be much softer, and the day I made them was about 35 degrees Celsius, so I had to refrigerate the pastry quite often to keep it from melting!
I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season, and a great new year!
Ingredients for the Fruit Mince:
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
70g slivered almonds
85g mixed peel
80ml maple syrup
90g brown sugar
60g unsalted butter, chopped
80ml butterscotch liqueur/schnapps
1 egg, lightly beaten
white sugar, for sprinkling
icing sugar, for dusting
Extra butter or canola oil spray, for greasing
Ingredients for the Pastry:
400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
300g cold unsalted butter, chopped
90g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
Begin by placing the apple, currants, sultanas, almonds, mixed peel, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and butterscotch liqueur in a medium saucepan over low heat. Mix to combine and leave on a low/medium heat until all the liquid as been absorbed. Stir occasionally.
While the fruit is cooking, prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor place the flour, butter, ginger and cinnamon. Process in short bursts until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the eggs and vanilla and process until the pastry forms a ball.
Turn out on to a well floured work surface and bring the dough together. Divide the dough in half, and roll each to about 5mm thick in between sheets baking paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Once the fruit has absorbed all the liquid, allow the mixture to cool completely before using.
Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius, and prepare at least four or five 12 hole mini muffin trays by lightly spraying them with canola oil or greasing with butter.
Using a 4.5-5cm fluted biscuit or scone cutter, cut rounds out of the halves of dough (re-roll (and chill if necessary) to use up the scraps). Tease each round out a little with your fingers, gently place into the muffin trays (they should only fill each muffin hole about halfway). Place the trays in the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill (longer if you are working in hot/humid conditions).
Once the pastry is ready, fill each case with a teaspoon of the fruit mince. Then using a (very) small star cutter, cut stars out of the remainder of the pastry (re-roll (and chill if necessary) to use up the scraps), and gently place on top of each tart.
Brush each tart with egg wash, and sprinkle with white sugar. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the tarts are lightly golden in colour.
Once cooked, allow to cool for 5 minutes in their tins before removing the tarts to cooling racks. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.
Reference: Donna Hay Magazine Issue 74 December 2013/January 2014, p.135.