Fruit Mince Tarts

As a family we really don't eat fruit mince tarts/pies at Christmas time, shortbreads, fruitcake - Yes - fruit mince tarts - No. Apparently a lot of people do eat them (who knew!) & fruit mince tarts was a popular Christmas recipe request on my recent Facebook give-away competition. One person even describing the brown sugar short pastry that she oh so missed. It was obvious to me that I had to make, bake & taste some (& use brown sugar in the pastry).

Honestly I bit into one of these tarts & my first thought was 'Oh my'. With a big smile on my face I told the rest of the family 'I don't like fruit mince tarts (I find them simply too sweet) but these are wonderful'.

There was a bit of resignation on my husband's face knowing that although he doesn't like fruit mince tarts he was going to have to try them. His response after taking a bite 'Oh my'. 

You will need a round bottom bun/tart pan or a traditional mince pie pan & two cookie cutters, an 8 cm round/scalloped and a star.   

Ingredients

Fruit Mince*

100 g Cranberries

150 g Sultanas

150 g Dates

100 g Slivered almonds

150 g Currants

100 g Glace cherries

2 Apples, peeled & grated

250 g Brown sugar

100 g Brandy

150 g Butter

2 Oranges, zest & juice

  

Fruit Mince - Use a combination of dried fruits that you would like or buy decent gf fruit mince if you don't want to make your own.  

 

Brown sugar Shortcrust Pastry

250 g Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour

65 g Brown sugar

1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Ground cloves

~1/8 tsp Salt

190 g Butter (melted)

1 Egg

25 g Hot water

 

Butter - To substitute another fat into this recipe decrease the amount of fat/oil to ~160 g and increase the amount of water to ~50 g. The actual amounts will vary depending on what is being added.

Egg - One of the reasons the egg is in the recipe is that it helps as an emulsifier. 

 

Method

Fruit Mince

Mix the ingredients in a large heavy based saucepan over gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat until it starts boiling, reduce heat until the mixture is simmering. Let simmer for 30 - 40 mins, stirring occasionally. 

If you are going to use it that day leave it in the saucepan, if not transfer to clean, sterile glass jars. I usually put my glass jars in the oven at 100 C for ~15 mins to sterilise them.  

Brown sugar Shortcrust Pastry

Mix together the Bakers' Magic Gluten free flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves & salt.

In another container melt the butter. Add the water & egg to the melted butter. Whisk with a fork to combine. Don't let this mixture cool.

Pour the melted butter mix over the combined dry ingredients & stir to combine. It can be mixed by hand, fork or wooden spoon. Mechanical devices can over mix the dough very easily, it is best done by hand.

At this stage the dough will feel slightly greasy. Wrap the dough in plastic clingwrap or put it in a plastic bag & store in the fridge for approximately 1 hour. The dough can be frozen at this stage.    

Cooling the dough is important - after cooling the butter is fully absorbed, flexibility is increased & the dough is easier to handle.

Bring the dough out of the fridge, it will be quite hard.

Prepare a clean work surface (silicon mat, baking paper) & knead the pastry until it is soft enough to roll out. As there is quite a lot of butter in the dough it will be quite soft - that is okay. 

Place dough in between two sheets of baking paper & roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3 mm. The pastry shrinks during baking as such when rolling out thinner is better than thicker. 

To ensure the dough is an even thickness follow this tip. Find 2 placemats (dinner setting - my placemats are ~4 mm thick) or two pieces of cardboard (2-3 mm thick) place one on either side of the dough. I have stainless steel spacers 1 mm, 2 mm & 3 mm thick - they are much easier to clean. When rolling out the dough ensure the rolling pin is wide enough to span the dough and part of the top of the placemats/spacers. My rolling pin is large – 61 cm from handle to handle. If your rolling pin is smaller it may be easy to half the dough. Initially when rolling the pin may not necessarily rest on the placemats/spacers, however, when the dough is the same thickness as the placemats/spacers it will. At this stage the dough should be all the same thickness.

After the dough is rolled out it may need to go in the fridge on a tray for ~5 mins (Most of the time I've a coldish kitchen & don't need to do this). It will really depend on how warm your kitchen is. Basically we want the dough to be pliable so that you can put it easily into the wells of a round bottom bun & tart pan or a traditional mince pie pan but not too soft that it loses its shape. I would cut out a piece of dough to see how easy it is to manipulate - I either peel the dough off the baking paper (large shapes) or use a knife to gently lift up one corner of small shapes. 

Grease the wells of the tart/pie pan & line a baking tray with baking paper. If you don't have a non-stick pan cut some strips of baking paper to lay in a criss - cross pattern on the bottom of each well. The dough is put in on the top of the paper & then the edges of the paper are used to lift out the cooked pastry cases. 

Turn oven on to 170 C fan forced.   

Gently lift off the top piece of baking paper, put it back down on the dough. Holding on to both sheets of baking paper on both sides of the dough gently flip the dough over. Lift off the top piece of baking paper - do not discard. Using the scalloped edge of an 8 cm round cutter cut out as many circles as you can. Transfer each circle to the well on the pan & gently push to the bottom & sides. I then use the cutter to gently bring the sides of the dough up. If there is any space left on the dough cut out stars. Sometimes when cutting out the stars instead of lifting off the stars & transferring them to the baking tray I will peel off the remnant dough & bake the stars as they have been cut out - it saves a lot of time. I then reroll the remaining dough. When you have cut out as many shapes as possible bring the dough together and roll it out again between the two sheets of baking paper. Continue cutting out shapes in the newly rolled dough. If the dough is cold enough the shapes will still be easy to pick up & transfer to the pan or baking tray. If not put the dough back into the fridge for ~ 5 mins. Repeat until you can't cut out any more shapes.

Transfer baking tray with stars & filled tart/pie pan(s) to the fridge for ~10 - 15 mins. Bring out & prick the bases of the tart cases 3 x with a fork. 

Bake for ~15 mins.

Bring out of the oven, transfer pan & tray to a cooling rack, spoon some of the fruit mince into the tart cases & top with a star. Transfer back to the oven & bake for ~10 mins. The actual baking time will depend on your oven & the thickness of the pastry. 

Bring out of the oven & allow to cool briefly before removing from the pan. 

To serve dust with icing sugar. 

Simply enjoy!