This week I’m sharing with you a recipe given to me by my one of my best friend’s mum, Maureen.
I was bemoaning my lack of a tried and true mince tart recipe for the blog recently when Shelby talked up her mum’s pies – the pastry has orange zest in them which gives it a special lift. “Just ask her – she’d love to share it with you”, she said. So I did. And to my delight, Maureen said yes.
Chatting with her a few days later, Maureen told me she’s been making these mince pies for forty years. She found the recipe in a little four page leaflet from The Australian Dried Fruits Association that she picked up in a health food shop. It is so old it is in imperial measure so you will need to convert, she told me.
Like many recipes of its age, it’s deliberately vague about the final quantity it makes. I was able to make 20 using domed tartlet pans but I rolled the pastry out too thin. Next time I‘ll make the pastry a little thicker, say 3mm thick – that will most likely yield 15 pies.
Next time? Yes, I’ll definitely make these again. I know my first attempt wasn’t perfect but its opened my eyes up to the possibilities.
For the first time in my life I’ve tasted a mince pie that I actually like. It must be the divine orange pastry. It’s more like biscuit pastry than shortcrust. In fact you can bake the leftover dough as small cookies. Yum.
For the purposes of this recipe I have used an off the shelf filling - Robertson’s Traditional Fruit Mince. They bear the royal seal so I figure if it’s good enough for Lizzie and Phil, it’ll be good enough for us. I soaked the fruit mince in brandy overnight but you could do it for as long or as little as suited you.
Next time I think I might try making my own mince (now that I know I kind of like them).
To make cooking more efficient, you could make the pastry the night before and bake the next day. I work with half the dough at a time and chill it in between. Today was pretty humid here so the pastry melted fast.
Few of us have an inbuilt marble slab in our bench but I improvise using a large white tile. You will need to roll the dough between sheets of baking paper to minimise sticking. I also dust the dough with icing sugar instead of flour.
The cooked tartlets can be frozen – hooray – and re-crisped in a slow-moderate oven (160°C), covered in foil for 10-15minutes.
Christmas is all about giving so I feel honoured to receive this lovely recipe gift from Maureen, especially since she has been such a great supporter of my cooking adventures and this blog. I hope I've done her recipe proud.
What are you giving this Christmas?
Recipe: Maureen’s Mistletoe Mince Pies
Original recipe from The Australian Dried Fruits Association, circa 1970
3 oz. (90g) butter, softened
2 oz. (60) caster sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 egg yolk
1 dessertspoon water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 oz. (90g) plain flour
2 oz. (60g) self-raising flour
1 oz. (30g) cornflour
1 1/2 cups of prepared fruit mince (or 410g jar Robertsons fruit mince), flavoured with 4 teaspoons (1 tbls) of brandy
- Cream together butter sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange rind, egg yolk, water and vanilla, beat well. Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into the mixture making a firm dough. Kneed lightly and chill for about an hour. This pastry may be made the day before required.
- Roll out the pastry thinly. Using a 7cm cutter, cut out fluted rounds and line tartlet or patty tin trays.Chill for 10-15minutes.
- Fill with a small quantity of fruit mince and level off.
- Roll out remaining pastry and cut into shapes such as stars, bells or Christmas trees.
- Arrange pastry tops over the fruit mince.
- Place in a hot (200C /180 fan) oven and bake for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to moderate (180C/160C Fan), and bake a further 16-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through.
- Allow to cool on a cake rack.
- Serve dusted with icing sugar.
- The dough should be approximately 3mm thick. Too thin and it will overcook and be especially crisp (just like my first batch!); too thick and the pastry won’t cook through properly.
- Don’t put too much fruit mince in – it will boil and bubble during baking and could bubble over the edges of your tarts (like mine did). Also try to level the mince surface before you put the pastry shape on top.
- Chill the filled tarts for 10-15minutes before you bake them. It will stop the pastry top from melting as soon as it gets into the oven and give you a prettier looking pie lid.
- You will have leftover fruit mince. If you don’t, you have over-filled your tarts.
- Left over pastry makes di-licious biscuits. Roll into balls and flatten. Bake for approximately 8 minutes til just golden – yummo (I like to call this the official cooks treat!)