The first day of the school holidays was unexpectedly cool and rainy so what better way to spend it than to with some Christmas baking! My husband has been dropping not so subtle hints for fruit mince tarts over the past few weeks so that was first on my list.
Before I got into my wholefoods groove I used to make fruit mince tarts with packet pastry and a jar of pre-made fruit mince. Not any more. I love making pastry and after a few years of practice I feel like I understand it a little more and can prevent some disasters. And honestly how amazing is homemade pastry? If you don't feel up to making your own, the Careme brand pastry in Australia is really good and they even have a gluten free version.
I used my go-to spelt pastry recipe and developed my own fruit mince recipe which was SO delicious I couldn't help taking lots of sneaky spoonfuls for 'just to check if it was ready.' Ha!
The kids were hanging around by the oven waiting for them to bake because they smelt so amazing and then each had 3 for afternoon tea. So that's a big tick of approval.
The pastry recipe makes enough for one batch of 12 tarts and I rolled the scraps out into some little biscuits which we snacked while waiting for the tarts to cool enough to eat.
The fruit mince recipe makes enough for 2 batches of 12 tarts and is stashed in the fridge to make some more next weekend. As I was making these for kids I cooked the brandy in with the fruit to get the flavour but cook off most of the alcohol. You can add the brandy at the end once the fruit is cooked for a bit more of a kick.
My Fruit Mince Tarts
500g organic mixed dried fruit
5 granny smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1 cup fresh orange juice, pulp and all
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1/4 cup brandy
zest of 1 orange
1 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts nutmeg
1/4 ts clove
1/4 ts allspice
Place all ingredients into a pot over medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the apple has completely softened and the mixture is thick and sticky. This will take around 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
250g white spelt flour
20g coconut sugar
125g cold salted butter
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbs iced water, as needed
Place flour and sugar into the thermomix or food processor and mix just to combine and break up any lumps. Add the butter and process for a few seconds at a time, until the mixture resembles rough sand. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbs iced water and process again for a few seconds at a time until the dough starts to clump together. Add extra water 1 tbs at a time only if needed.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press into a disc. Wrap well and place into the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes before rolling.
To assemble the tarts:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease a 12 cup tart or muffin tray and set aside.
Roll out about 2/3 of the dough (leave the rest in the fridge) about 3mm thick. Using a round cutter (mine was 7cm), cut out 12 circles for the bases of your tarts. Choose a cutter that is just a little wider than the diameter of each hole in your tray and they will fit perfectly. Press each circle over the base of your prepared tray and set the scraps of dough aside.
Place a teaspooful of fruit mince mixture into each tart base, being careful not to overfil or the edges won't seal. Using your finger, dab some water around the edge of pastry of each tart.
Roll out the remainder of the dough from the fridge in the same way, but use a slightly smaller cutter (mine was 6cm) to cut 12 circles for the tops of your tarts. Place a piece on top of each tart and then use a fork to crimp and seal the edges. Use the fork to pierce the top of each tart to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tarts are golden brown and smell amazing. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Delicious warm or cold.
Buttery pastry surrounding sweet and spicy fruit, there's a reason these are a classic!