Mince Pie Tart Recipe
Mince pies - The sweet and spicy fruit mix encased in crumbly pastry has been a Yuletide treat for centuries – though its earlier incarnations might not be so tasty to modern tongues.
The mincemeat filling is called meat because that’s exactly what it used to be: most often mutton (lamb), but also beef, rabbit, pork or game. Mince pies were first served in the early middle ages, and the pies were quite sizeable, filled with a mixture of finely minced meat, chopped up fruit and a preserving liquid. Mincemeat originally came about as a good way of preserving meat, without salting, curing, smoking or drying it.
During the Stuart and Georgian times, in the UK, mince pies were a status symbol at Christmas. Very rich people liked to show off at their Christmas parties by having pies made in different shapes (like stars, crescents, hearts, tears, & flowers). Having pies like this meant you were rich and could afford to employ the best, and most expensive, pastry cooks. Now they are normally made in a round shape and are eaten hot or cold.
How about trying something different with your Christmas mincemeat. Make this delectable festive tart with buttery pastry and crumble topping and serve with clotted cream or custard.
For the Filling:
100g golden caster sugar
1 orange , zested
2 Bramley apples , peeled, cored and diced
1 cinnamon stick
40g dried cranberries
70g cut mixed peel
80g shredded beef or vegetable suet
For the pastry
200g butter , softened
100g golden caster sugar
2 egg yolks
350g plain flour , sifted
For the crumble
100g plain flour
30g golden caster sugar
50g butter , softened
50g quick frosted walnuts , roughly chopped (see goes well with)
custard or clotted cream
First, make the pastry. Using a tabletop mixer or an electric hand whisk, cream together the butter and sugar with a pinch of salt until soft and fluffy. Add the yolks, then fold in the flour until the pastry just comes together, being careful not to overwork. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hr.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Cook the butter, sugar, orange zest, apple and cinnamon over a medium heat for 15 mins or until you have a thick purée. Add the dried fruit and mixed peel for the final 1-2 mins, then remove from the heat. Once cool, remove the cinnamon stick, and stir in the brandy and suet.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin, then use to line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart case. Return to the fridge for 30 mins until well chilled.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Prick the base of the tart case with a fork, line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 12 mins, then remove the baking beans and parchment and cook for 3 mins more.
Meanwhile, put the flour, sugar and butter for the crumble in a bowl. Rub together with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs, then mix in the frosted walnuts.
Spoon the mincemeat filling into the pastry case and cover with the crumble. Return to the oven for 30 mins until bubbling at the edges and the topping is golden and gooey. Serve warm or cool with custard or clotted cream.