Festive baking: Tess Ward’s mince pie tarts
Love mince pies? Join the club, but go one step further with Tess Ward’s twist on the classic recipe: a mince pie/pop tart hybrid made with delicious, nutty-textured spelt flour– by her own assertion, they’re ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’!
Tess Ward’s Christmas mince pie pop tart recipe
250g/8oz white spelt flour, plus more for dusting
Pinch of salt
110g/4oz butter, cubed
100ml/5-6 tbsp cold water
1 egg, beaten with a fork
140g unrefined cane sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
To make the pastry
1 Put the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the cubes of butter. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a mixture like wet sand. Try to work quickly so that the butter doesn’t melt.
2 Using a knife, stir in just enough of the cold water to bring the dough together, then divide it into two and wrap both in clingfilm. Place the two balls of dough in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes before using.
3 Unwrap the pastry and place on a lightly floured surface, and using a rolling pin and enough flour to prevent sticking (don’t overdo the flour) roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm. Spoon on teaspoonsful of mincemeat, spaced about 2.5cm apart. Brush round the mincemeat with a little of the egg mixture. Unwrap the second ball of pastry, and repeat the process, rolling it out to the same thickness. Carefully place it on top the mincemeat-dotted sheet.
4 Press and shape the pastry around each dollop of mincemeat, squeezing out as much air as you can. Slice up the sheet into individual parcels using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Prick each with a fork, and then seal the edges around each one by pressing with a fork. Place these parcels back in the fridge for 15 minutes.
5 Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
6 Place the pop tarts onto baking trays, brush with a little more beaten egg and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and crisp. While they are baking, mix together sugar and cinnamon on a plate. When done lift the pies, a few at a time, carefully into the sugar and gently turn to coat. Serve warm.
To make the mincemeat
Tess says: ‘If you have the time, it is worth making your own mincemeat because you can tailor it to suit your taste or specific dietary requirements. This amount yields enough to fill the pop tarts for this recipe, but I would certainly recommend doubling the recipe and setting the jars of prepared mincemeat aside. They only get better as the flavour of the spices marinates with the dried fruit. The addition of a little brandy or rum is also a very welcome one.’
Yields 2 cups
1 large Braeburn or Cox apple, peeled and grated
350g / 3 cups mixed sultanas, currants, raisins and chopped so organic apricots
Zest and juice of one orange
50g / 1/3 cup light brown
4 tbsp butter, or grapeseed oil
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
2-3 tbsp brandy or spiced rum (optional)
1 Add all of the ingredients listed above, except the brandy to a large saucepan over medium heat.
2 Stir to combine and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes, to break down the dried fruit and combine with the brown sugar.
3 Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through the brandy, if using.
4 Decant the mixture into sterilised jars. Leave the mixture to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until you’re ready to use.