Friday, 18 December 2015


“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store…” - Dr. Seuss

Christmas is fast approaching and there is nothing better than home-made Christmas goodies, so much better tasting than the commercially available ones. However, today’s busy lifestyle often precludes the making of these traditional recipes as they are time-consuming and often need to be made many weeks before the festive season (something we seem to forget nowadays). Here is a recipe for fruit mince pies that doesn’t need much preparation, nor does the mince need weeks of ageing.


Ingredients, pastry
480 g plain flour
Pinch salt
3600g butter, put in freezer for 10 minutes and grated
6 tbsps water
Finely grated rind of 4 lemons (you could also use lime zest)

Ingredients, fruit mince
1/2 cup sultanas
1/3 cup mixed citrus peel
1/3 cup glacé cherries, chopped up
1/3 cup dried figs, chopped up
1/3 cup dates, chopped up
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 tbsp brandy
ground cinnamon, cloves

caster sugar
1 egg whisked with a little milk.

Mix all of the fruit, jam, marmalade, brandy and spices together. Let it rest while making the pastry. Grease two muffin pans (12 each) in preparation for the baking.

Sift the flour and salt together onto a clean bench. Add the grated butter and lightly rub the flour and butter together between your finger tips and thumb tips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add water. Using a butter knife cut the water into the flour so that it is partially combined. If it looks too crumbly, add another tablespoon of water and cut the water into the mixture again.
Quickly knead the mixture a couple of times to bring all ingredients together (just a few times – don’t over work the pastry). Wrap pastry in cling wrap and then refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. You could also put the pastry in the freezer if you want to make it in advance; it will last a couple of weeks (just make sure it is well wrapped in cling wrap).

Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll the pastry out onto a well-floured surface (to stop it sticking) to 1/2 cm thick. Using a round pastry cutter cut 24 x 8 cm rounds and 24 x 6 cms rounds. Gently line the muffin tins with the 8 cm rounds and bake in the oven for 5 minutes until golden brown.
Fill the pre-baked pastry cases with 1 heaped tablespoon of fruit mince. Brush the egg mixture around the top edge of the pastry case and place the 6 cm rounds on as lids. You can decorate the tops with dough, cut out in the shape of holly leaves. Press to seal the edges, then brush the lids with the egg mixture and lightly sprinkle with caster sugar. Gently press the tip of a knife into the centre of each pie/tart to create a small hole to allow steam to escape. 
Bake in the oven for a further 10 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Eat while warm or cold. The tarts will keep well in an airtight container for about a week.

Merry Christmas!

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