Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Cherry Mincemeat Tarts (A Nigella Lawson-Like Recipe)

Living in the opposite side of the world, I really hate the fact that our Christmas is completely different from others... It is never white, snowy, cold and dark. For our Christmas, we never have to wear layers of warm clothing, snuggle in front of wood fires or enjoying the warmth of cuddles.

Instead, we are celebrating our Christmas with sunshine, picnics, parties, outdoor and beaches. Did I say sunshine and beaches for our Christmas? Seriously, I don't think I should complain much. On the brighter side, I do appreciate that we are always having an unique Christmas.

For Christmas this year, I'm baking my traditional mincemeat tarts with an Aussie twist!!! Instead of baking with raisins and fresh cranberries, I have modified a Nigella Lawson's flaky mincemeat tarts recipe to bake my version with cherries and also lots and lots of cherries because cherries are one of the fruits that we enjoy the most for our down-under Christmas...

Christmas cherry mincemeat tarts
Christmas cherry mincemeat tarts
I started by cooking cherry mincemeat in advance.
You can either use fresh cherries or frozen if fresh is available.
I have added these into my mincemeat. Instead of raisin, I have added dried cherries...
... plus these too!
Chill the crumbs in the freezer and this will make the pastry tender and flaky.
Then combine the crumbs into a dough with orange juice. Rest dough for 30 mins in the fridge.
While the dough is resting, get the cutters and pan ready.
Line the patty pan with pastry rounds.
Assemble the tarts and bake...
Can't wait to try one before dusting them with icing sugar...
Yum! Yum! Yum! To illustrate the flakiness of the pastry, I have used the leftover pastry to cut into 4 little reindeer and I have baked them at 200°C fan forced for 12 mins. 

See how flaky they are ...

These are my son's favourite!

Mummy, I need to eat more reindeer!!! said my son with a hungry face.
Sweetie, you sound so ferocious!!! 

Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from the book, Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson or here

Please note that this is 1/3 of the original recipe to bake seven 6 cm tarts.

For the pastry:
80g all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
20g vegetable shortening, preferably the non-trans fat kind like Crisco
20g cold butter, diced into cubes
juice of 1/3 orange
approximately 120g mincemeat
icing sugar (for dusting)

For the cherry mincemeat:
20ml ruby port or orange juice (I used orange juice)
25g dark muscovado or dark brown sugar
100g cherries, pitted, fresh or frozen
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
20g dried cranberries
40g dried cherries
finely grated zest and juice of 1/3 orange
2 tsp brandy
1/3 tsp vanilla extract or 1/6 tsp vanilla paste
2/3 tbsp honey

Make the mincemeat at least 2 weeks in advance:

In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the ruby port or orange juice over a gentle heat. Add the cherries and stir. Add the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, dried cranberries and cherries and the zest and juice of the orange. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 mins, or until the fruit has broken down and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Add the brandy, vanilla extract and honey and stir well with a wooden spoon to mash the mixture down into a paste. Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars. When cooled completely, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

When you are ready to make your mince tarts, get ready your miniature tart tins or patty pan each indent is about 6 cm in diameter, along with a 7 cm fluted, round biscuit cutter and a star cookie cutter.

Using a food processor or a spoon with a mixing bowl, mix dollops of vegetable shortening into the cold butter roughly. Add flour and sprinkle the pinch of salt into the butter mixture. Process or mix slightly until just combined. Chill the buttery crumbs in the freezer for 20 min. This will make the pastry tender and flaky. Mix in the orange juice until the crumbs combine to form a dough. If all your juice is used up and you need more liquid, add some iced water. Wrap dough in cling wrap and allow it to rest in the fridge to rest for 20 mins.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/425ºF/200°C fan forced.

Roll pastry as thin as you can roll. As this is an easy to handle pastry, you don’t have to roll it too thick and you can patch up any holes with extra pastry if required.

Cut the rolled pastry with the cutters. Place the pastry rounds into the tart tins or patty pan and fill the lined pastry with sufficient amount of mincemeat. Then, place a star pastry on top of the mincemeat.

Bake for 10-15 mins or until the pastry turn golden brown. Allow the pastry to cool slightly for about 10 mins before transferring them onto the wire rack to cool completely at room temperature.

Dust the tarts with icing sugar and serve.

Happy Baking and Merry Christmas

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  1. Oh my my !! The cherry tarts all look so pretty! I can see lots of liew, lots of good cherries, so yummy.. I just love that flakiness of the pastry, so buttery, so rich.. I know I say the same thing everytime, but I can have 50 of these!

  2. Zoe, your Christmas Cherry Mincemeat Tarts are very cute! I bet they are very tasty and were gone is a very short time hee..hee...

  3. These are such a gorgeous little treat! I'm sure guest to the home or anyone who gets these will be in awe of how adorable, fresh and delicious they are! I totally would like some spiced cake right now!

  4. Hi Zoe,
    These Christmas Cherry Mincemeat Tarts are so yummy-licious looking !

  5. Zoe, you are a great cook. I want to eat these yummy tarts!

  6. Great mini tarts.....OMG...! I'm in love with this..... :)

  7. Hi Zoe,
    I am excited to see your mince meat pie because I baked this too ;D
    Yours look cute and I am loving the cherry filling!

  8. Zoe, I really love these mini tarts!!!
    Merry Christmas

  9. Wow! Looks so nice! I love flaky crust! I have never had cherry mincemeat before but sounds wonderful!
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! I'm taking holiday break after today. I just posted my last post of 2014. I just wanted to say that you're awesomely charming!

  10. We celebrate Christmas with sunshine in California too.

  11. My hb LOVES mincemeat pies! I shall make this for him next Christmas!