I'm on a mission to free the world of dried fruit baked goods this Christmas. I can't really say what it is about dried fruit that I don't like...maybe the heaviness of the associated bakes, maybe the cloying sweetness. All I know is that this week I'm taking a stand and saying "no" to mince pies.
My alternative is a take on the Bakewell tart, made festive with the addition of mulled fruit Mackays jam and silver stars instead of the more traditional glace cherry. Feel free to change your jam to any of your choosing. I'm planning a chocolate pastry version with an orange marmalade base and zest added to the icing for a real festive hit.
The method below produces good flat based tarts, however unless the sides are properly sealed you will get leakage during baking. Make sure to overlap your side strip enough to allow for shrinkage and if in doubt is offcuts to seal your base to your sides before filling. Alternatively cut circles of pastry large enough to cover both the base and sides of your baking tins, pressing well to the moulds to get a good tart shape.
Mini Bakewell Tarts - Recipe adapted from BBC Food
150g Mackays mulled fruit jam
For the pastry
100g butter, chilled & cubed
200g plain flour, sifted
40g icing sugar, sifted
1 medium egg beaten
For the Frangipane
55g butter, chilled & cubed
55g golden caster sugar
1 medium egg beaten
40g ground almonds
1 tbsp plain flour
For the topping
85g icing sugar
small quantity of cold water
decorations of your choice
To make the pastry rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar then use a blunt knife to cut in the beaten egg. Using your hands bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. on a floured surface roll out half the pastry to a thickness of approximately 3mm. Using a 5cm round cutter, cut 12 circles to fit into the base of each muffin tin hole. Make the sides by rolling out the remaining pastry and cutting 12 strips approximately 1.5cm wide by 20cm long. Gently press around the sides of each hole of the muffin tin, making sure the edges are sealed to the base.
Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas 3
For the frangipane, beat the ingredients together until they form a smooth, well combined paste.
Prick the bases of the cases with a fork, then place half a teaspoon of jam in each. Top with a teaspoon of the frangipane mixture and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the frangipane is risen & golden. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing topping mix the icing sugar with a few teaspoons of water and mix to form a thick paste. Spread over the tarts and decorate how you like.
I was sent some Mackays marmalade and jam to use in some Christmas recipes free of charge.
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