Monday, December 8, 2008

Have yourself a mince-y little Christmas

Oh Christmas Tarts! Carols playing from the stereo, a pre-heating over, freshly copha-ed pie pans, and you're up to your elbows in dough. Well, maybe not elbows but definitely spreading flour all over the kitchen.

I made some Fruit Mince pies on Sunday. A little tradition I do every year, using the recipe from my mother, who got the recipe from her great-aunt who used to get up at 4 am to make mince pies so that her hands would be cold enough to handle the dough.

I was quite gratified to see that my recipe for short crust pastry is almost identical to Mrs Beeton's with only a few minor adjustments. In the place of lard I use butter, and instead of all plain flour and baking powder I use half and half of Self Raising Flour and plain flour.

However, my method differs vastly from Mrs Beeton's, considering I use an electric food processor to mix the dough.

SHORT-CRUST. (For Pies, Tarts, etc.)

INGREDIENTS - 8 oz of flour
2 oz of butter
2 oz of lard
1 yolk of egg
1 teaspoonful of baking powder
A good pinch of salt
About 1/8 of a pint of water

METHOD - Rub the butter and lard lightly into the flour, add the baking powder, salt, yolk of egg, and sufficient water to form a stiff paste. Roll out to the required thickness and use at once.

TIME - About 1/4 of an hour. SUFFICIENT for about 1 medium-sized tart

Mrs Beeton's recipe for rich short-crust has 1 level dessertspoonful of sugar - but 6 oz of butter, hence I compared my recipe with the normal short-crust)

My recipe
4 oz (125g) of plain flour
4 oz (125g) of SR flour
4 oz (125g) of butter
2 oz (60g) of castor sugar
1 pinch of salt
About 3 tablespoons of water

Method: Put butter, flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Turn on and process until it resembles bread crumbs, add egg yolk, and process, add water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball of dough whirling round the mixer. Remove and roll out on a floured board/benchtop. The use or refridgerate until required (no more that 1 day)

Roll out, cut into tops (5cm circle cutter) and bottoms (round egg ring), put into a tart pan which has been brushed with melted copha (it makes the pastry crispier that using butter) and fill with fruit mince.

Bake for about 25 to 30 mins in a moderate oven (180 oC)

ABSOLUTELY can only be made if Christmas carols are blaring from the stereo, music box, or piano...


Anonymous said...

Oh those look delicious!

atomicliving said...

My goodness, those look delicious! Last year was our victorian (1860's) christmas, and stickler that I am I made the christmas plum pudding super old school. The pudding tin was actually an antique from the time ( I used two) and even the recipe I used was from then and was very vague about amounts an such, and there was much lard and suet etc, and I soaked the raisins and currants for three days in brandy, but in the end, OMG it was so good. So, even tho this xmas is a 1950s, I am still making it victorian style, it's too yummers to give it up!

The Prodigal Tourist said...

These look fabulous! We're definitely putting them on our Christmas list! So glad you like our blog! Cheers!