Christmas wouldn't be the same in our house without a fully stocked tin of mincemeat tarts. I have experimented with recipes over the years, adjusting the quantities and proportions of ingredients, and have found a recipe that works well. I often get asked for the recipe and I thought I would share it with you too.
The pastry of these tarts is very short and buttery and the mincemeat is topped with a crunchy crumble topping. The secret is to use real, good quality butter, and to handle the pastry as little as possible, the more you work it the tougher and less crumbly it gets. I make the pastry and crumble in my food processor, blitzing it up with the chopping blade. If you have time it’s a good idea to make the crumble in advance and freeze it, it saves time when you actually come to make the pies, and used directly out of the freezer, it makes the topping more crunchy than it would be if you made it and cooked it straight away.
I also sometimes make a large batch of the crumble and freeze it in a sealed container so I have a topping ready to be spread on a stewed fruit; particularly good if you want to have a dessert in a hurry or you get unexpected guests.
Mincemeat Crumble Tarts
Preheat oven to 200C / 180CFan / 390F
Makes around 20 tarts
8oz plain flour
2oz icing sugar
5oz butter (straight from the fridge)
1 large jar good quality mince meat or homemade (I like to make a batch of mincemeat using Delia Smith’s recipe)
3oz plain flour
2oz butter (straight from the fridge)
1oz caster sugar
Flaked almonds (optional)
1. Make the crumble topping first: sieve the flour and place into food processor together with the butter. Pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture resembles sand. Tip the flour and butter mix into a bowl and stir in the caster sugar. Using your hands squeeze the mixture together and then break it up again so that you have a more lumpy mixture. It’s these lumps that will become crunchy during the cooking. Place the bowl in the freezer (or fridge if you don’t have room) while you make the pastry or as long as possible.
2. For the pastry sieve the flour and the icing sugar together. Place into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine sand. Add cold water a tablespoon at a time and pulse until a dough forms. 3-4 tablespoons should be enough. You want the dough to just hold together and not be too wet and sticky. Alternatively you can rub the butter in by hand, being careful not to overwork the dough.
3. Tip the pastry out onto a floured board and gently press it together. Roll out and cut with a circular cutter. I use one measuring 7cm / 2.75 in diameter. Gently put them into bun tins and place in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.
4. When you are ready to assemble the tarts place a teaspoon of mincemeat into each one. Cover the mincemeat with crumble, pressing the tops down ever so slightly to keep the crumble in place and sprinkle with flaked almond (if using), again gently pressing the almonds down.
5. Bake for 20 minutes until they are golden brown and leave to cool on a wire tray before devouring!
These tarts freeze really well and I usually pop them straight from the freezer into the oven for a few minutes, then serve them warm. They are particularly good served with a scoop of ice cream and make an excellent instant dessert over the festive period.
Enjoy and I hope you all have a very happy Christmas! x