I make a vegetarian (no suet) fruit mince that can last a year in the fridge. The pastry is delightful to eat, but can be tricky to work with, so I often press out the tart bases in the pan and only roll the lids.
- 1 lemon, scrubbed, juiced, halves reserved
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled, cored, coarsely grated
- 100 g dried currants
- 100 g sultanas
- 110 g (½ cup firmly packed) brown sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) Grand Marnier or brandy
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 100 g walnuts or almonds, finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tsp water
- thickened cream whipped with a little whisky, to serve
Very short shortcrust pastry
- 160 g butter, softened
- 125 g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 2 egg yolks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
You will need a 12-hole (2 tbsp capacity) patty pan. Alternatively, make 6 tarts using a 6-hole (80 ml capacity) muffin pan. These will keep in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 1 week.
Start this recipe a day ahead.
To make fruit mince, place lemon halves in a saucepan and top with enough cold water to just cover. Bring to the boil and cook, changing water halfway, for 1 hour or until very soft. Drain. Process in a food processor until finely chopped.
Combine chopped lemon peel, lemon juice, apple, dried fruits, sugar, Grand Marnier and mixed spice in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight. Stir in walnuts.
To make pastry, using a food processor, process butter, icing sugar and vanilla until combined. Add flour and process until mixture resembles crumbs. Add egg yolks and process until mixture just forms a dough. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Working in 2 batches, roll dough between sheets of plastic wrap or baking paper until 5 mm thick.
Using an 8.5 cm pastry cutter, cut pastry into 12 rounds for the bases. Using a 7 cm pastry cutter, cut remaining pastry into 12 rounds for the pie lids.
Press bases into a 12-hole patty pan and trim edges. Top with a tablespoonful of fruit mince, then press lids on top and trim edges. Brush tops with egg wash.
Place pan towards the bottom of the oven and bake tarts for 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and browned on the base. Cool and serve with whisky-laced whipped cream.
As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 16, pg34.
Photography by Alan Benson