discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Baby fruit mince tarts

There really isn't much to say about these 2 bite little Christmas treats or gifts.  I've been traditionally a shortbread maker at Christmas time, but was given a request for some fruit mince tarts.  I enjoyed making them so much, I think they will be on my to do list each December from now on.  

I used Stephanie Alexanders shortcrust pastry recipe from my bible "The cooks companion", a must have in any kitchen goddess abode.  I cheated and used brought 'mince' but added my own twist.  Next year when my apple tree is layden, I'll try to remember to make the mince from scratch.  This quantity of pastry made 22 mini tarts.  It is also worthwhile adding, these are best made on a cool day or with the a/c on and your rolling pin popped into the freezer for 5 minutes or so.  I have such warm hands, not ideal for this type of handie work, but I soldiered on.

Jan's fruit mince tarts....with a little help thrown in
for the pastry
180g unsalted butter
240g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon or 2 of water or less
1 tablespoon of sugar (not in the original recipe
1 beaten egg yolk, to use to glaze your star lid
Take butter from fridge around 30 minutes before making the pastry and now is a good time to preheat the oven to 200c.  Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.  I added the sugar now too.  Chop the butter into small dice, or you can grate it, and add to the flour and lightly rub it with your finger tips to create breadcrumbs.  The aim here is to coat every bit of dry ingredients with a layer of butter.  Once you have achieved this add a tablespoon or less of water, go easy, it is just to help bind the dough into a solid ball.

Cover the dough with glad wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.  While that is chilling, fold a large sheet of baking paper into a rectangle and cut off long strips.  I came up with this idea as my mini muffin tray couldn't be trusted to be non stick as it has had years of love.  This baking paper will help you unearth your buttery gems down the track.

Lay the strips across the muffin tin as pictured above.
Once your 30 minutes is up,  using 2 pieces of baking paper to stop the pastry from sticking to your board and roll it out quite thinly. This technique is wonderful as it  alleviates the need for extra flour and the frustration of pastry sticking.


Using a round cutter and a star and/or heart cutter, create your base and lid.  When you place your round base into the tray, you need to help shape it into place and even add some left over pastry to make a side higher or the base thicker if that is needed, but not too thick, mind.  I used my fingertip, but only do this if like me your manicure is over due and you have no nail length!

For the mince
1 jar of shop brought fruit mince.  I confess I used, from Aldi, Robertson's, but it really was good.
1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts
1 cup of chopped cranberries
1 grate of fresh nutmeg
Stir altogether and leave in the fridge overnight, but its not essential.  I think it just helps the cranberries soften up.  Use around a teaspoon full, but don't be greedy, too full and you will have molten fruit mince lava that will be your undoing once you are trying to delicately get them out of the tray.  

Are you still with me? Ok, now you have added the mince, take a precious little star or love heart and brush lightly with the egg yolk and gently place on top of the mince and push down ever so slightly.  
Bake at 200c for 10 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 180c for a further 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for around 5-7 minutes in the tray then carefully lift, using your baking paper strip and put onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Douse with icing sugar and quickly get them into the container you are giving them away in so you don't eat the gifts!!

Seeing as there are many of my dear readers who are living frugally, I'll share the cost.  These made 22 tarts and I would allow 6-8 per receiver if you are gifting them.  They all up cost well under $10 and that was using organic butter, sugar and flour.  It would be a lot more cost if you were organised and made the mince months earlier, but I'm sure the result would be a flavour punch worth the expense.  So its around, $3 or so for 3 special homemade gifts for 3 dear friends who will love them, but that can be our little secret.

Tell me, do you hand make any of your Christmas pressies? I think it is such a lovely way to say I love you.

Ciao, Jan

8 comments :

  1. I have really warm hands too so it makes chocolate and pastry work a real challenge, especially in the heat of summer too! These look darling :)

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  2. These are adorable! I see me making them for Christmas. Thank you!

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    1. your welcome Juli they are adorable aren't they!

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  3. OMG - what a fantastic tip with the strip of baking paper along the entire row - I love it!!
    I will definitely be using that tip.
    Your little mince tarts look so enticing and so edible - I hate bigger ones - they look too rich and hard to eat in one go - but these little babies are just the trick.
    Gorgeous Post Jan! Mariana x

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    1. It really worked well that baking paper trick I must say! Thanks for your kind words Mariana, shame I couldn't pour you a cup of tea to go with one :D

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  4. OH my!! These look absolutely amazing!! Found you because I wrote the post on Down To Earth Mother about the JuJu!! Saw your facebook comment... glad I did and am now following your blog and facebook page!
    I am DEFINITELY going to make these! Thanks for sharing the recipe and especially that tip for getting pastry out of a mini muffin tray! Genius!! x

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    1. Hi Bekka, lovely to have you find me :D I was very interested in that article you wrote for Jo, but I'm still unconvinced hehehe.... maybe one day.

      I hope you have great success with these gorgeous little babies, Jan x

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