Monday, November 26, 2007

Mincemeat and apple tart

Whilst browsing in the blogosphere a few weeks ago, a stumbled upon a post on Jeanne's 'Cooksister' blog about the latest theme for the food blogging event 'Waiter! There's something in my...'. This month's theme was to be the topless tart. How could I possibly resist. I love a good tart, be it savoury or sweet. I though awhile about my entry. What would I choose? So little time and so many tarts. Treacle tart is my speciality (or so I like to think) so it would be the obvious choice. I checked the cupboard for golden syrup and vowed to make one the following day.

Of course, all the best laid plans go to seed and I forgot all about the challenge. Until last weekend. I was babysitting for my sister's two little boys - aged 22 months and 8 weeks. I'm a little aged to receive babysitting money so my sister instead bought me a cookbook as a thank you gift. Knowing that I was to be in charge of this year's Christmas lunch for the first time, she thought that BBC Good Food Magazine's '101 Christmas Dishes' would be an appropriate choice. Too true. Within those pages, nestled in between 'Zabaglione Trifle Slice' and 'Pecan Toffee Meringue with Mulled Pears', was a rather tasty looking tart. Laid bare, in all its topless glory.

Better still, it had a mere five ingredients. This was fortunate seeing as I had left my entry rather late and was, therefore, rather lacking on the old time front. I set to it. So simple. Yet so pleasingly and festively delicious. A little slice of Christmas mid-November - it really got me in the mood for what lies ahead and made the kitchen smell wonderfully festive too. Even a non mincemeat lover was suitably impressed and left a very clean plate. Of course, you could make it far more complex and no doubt far more delicious by making your own mincemeat. I haven't done so this year. Maybe next year?

In order to enjoy this tart at its very finest, I recommend a good splosh of custard. Homemade or the lurid yellow stuff from Birds - both, in my mind, have their merits and therefore their place (no doubt the purists will disagree).

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

1 oz golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
225g shortcrust pastry
410g jar mincemeat
3 small eating apples (Cox's are good for this)
a little milk or beaten egg

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C. Peel, core and slice the apples and toss in the sugar and spice until well coated.

2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until the thickness of a pound coin. Cut a large circular shape (no need to be perfect circle).

3. Spread the mincemeat all over the centre of the pastry circle, leaving an inch or so as a border.

4. Arrange apples on top of mincemeat and then bring the pastry up around the edge of the filling, pressing together so that the sides stand up around the edge....

5. Brush the pastry with milk or beaten egg and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until pastry golden and apples softened.

6. Serve hot or warm with ice cream, custard or cream.

Notes - the syrupy part of the mincemeat gets very hot in the oven, so be sure to take care with that first mouthful. I was far too greedy and took a bite as soon as it was out of the oven - big mistake... Next time, I think I might jazz up the pastry a little with some nuts - perhaps some almonds or walnuts lightly chopped so there was still a little crunch.

Please note - blogger seems to be playing up and telling me that exclamation marks are not permitted. So please note that I am not lacking in humour this evening, just unable to express my merriment...


Patricia Scarpin said...

What a sinful and delicious tart!

Greg said...

Hmm, I'm not much of a mincemeat fan, but I do love apples. With a dose of cream I could be swayed. Your pictures sure make it enticing!

Greg Cooks

Maria said...

What a delicious yummy looking tart. I have made my own mincemeat for xmas and this tart looks a real treat ;o)


Antonia said...

Patricia - yes, rather sinful but very delicious!

Greg - glad you like the photos. It is a delicious combination and would be pretty good with a dose of cream!

Maria - you put me to shame! I bet your mincemeat is delicious and would be wonderful for this tart.

Nan said...

It's beautiful, especially your crust! I've wanted to try mincemeat, but it sounds scary...

Jeanne said...

Mmm, that looks wonderful! I love the taste of fruit mince together with apple in any event, and I'll bet using apples over the mince instead of pastry makes it lighter too. Yum! Thanks for taking part in this month's WTSIM :)

On an unrelated topic, I've been trying in vain to find your e-mail address as we'd like to invite you to take part in Menu for Hope, the annual event where foodbloggers raise money for a good
cause by raffling off prizes. Together with Johanna (The Passionate Cook) I will be co-ordinating the UK leg of this year's campaign. Last year we managed to raise $66,000 and hope to increase that total again this time round. If you'd like to participate, please e-mail me asap and I'll send you the details.


Trekkie said...

Looks utterly droolable.

Rosie said...

Oh Antonia with my sweet tooth I must bake this. I have some wonderful boozy mincemeat I've made and this would be perfect for that.

Rosie x

Antonia said...

Nan - thanks for stopping by. I've never made my own mincemeat either, though don't imagine it can be too difficult. I might give it a try next year!

Jeanne - thank you. The apples made a nice change.
On the subject of Menu for Hope,I have sent you a separate e-mail. Do forward me the details.

Lynn - Just looking back at the pictures now is making my mouth water. I wish I still had a slice to enjoy!

Rosie - I bet your mincemeat would be perfect for this festive dessert. So quick to put together too.