I’d been meaning to make mincemeat pies forever, because I think they look absolutely adorable! But I always gave up at the idea of using suet, or anything similar to it.
That is why this recipe is perfect: besides being suet-free, both the pastry and the filling are delicious, with a not-very-Christmas-but-yummy hint of chocolate.
Cinnamon-chocolate fruit mince tarts
slightly adapted from Australian Gourmet Traveller
270g dark brown sugar
300g dried cranberries
3 tablespoons brandy
100g unsalted butter, melted
100g glacé orange, finely chopped
2 Granny Smith apples, coarsely grated
1 orange, finely grated zest and juice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
1 ½ tablespoons demerara sugar, for scattering
180g softened unsalted butter
200g pure icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
500g all purpose flour
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients except chocolate and demerara sugar in a large bowl, stir to combine, then spoon into sterilized jars* and refrigerate for at least 1 day or up to 2 weeks, inverting jar occasionally. Makes about 5 cups of fruit mince.
For cinnamon pastry, beat butter, sugar and cinnamon in an electric mixer until creamy, but not fluffy (4-5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Beat in flour and salt, turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until just smooth (at this point I needed to add 1 ½ tablespoons of flour because the dough was too soft), then divide pastry in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours to rest.
Roll out each pastry half on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick, cut out 11cm-diameter rounds with a pastry cutter, place on a tray and refrigerate until required. Cut out small stars or other decorative shapes from the pastry scraps, place on a tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until required. Re-roll any remaining scraps to 3mm thick, refrigerate until firm (30 minutes), then cut out more rounds and decorative shapes with small biscuit cutters and add shapes to tray.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; butter twenty four ½ cup (120ml) capacity muffin pans. Line the pans with the pastry rounds and refrigerate until required.
Add chocolate to fruit mince mixture, stir to combine. Spoon fruit mince mixture into each pastry-lined pan, leaving a 5mm gap at top. Top each with a pastry shape, brush lightly with water, scatter with demerara sugar and bake until pastry is golden and crisp (12-15 minutes). Cool completely in pans, then remove. Fruit mince tarts will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
* I did not sterilize the jars and kept the mince mixture in the fridge for only 2 days
Makes 24 – I made 1/3 of the recipe above, used 1/3 cup (80ml) capacity pans and got 12 tartlets