When I moved to England I found there were very different Christmas customs. I’ve already written about my new favorite holiday, Boxing Day, but I wanted to share some of my new-found favorite foods.
Mince tarts are made with mincemeat, which sounds gross, especially if you don’t eat meat. Why would anyone want to make a tart from minced meat? Apparently, that whole meat thing has gone by the wayside, and now mince tarts contain no meat, and my version contains no egg or dairy either.
I make an almond flour crust for these tarts, and since it’s so easy to find good mincemeat in jars, I use that. If you go to a farm shop here during the holidays, you might find a gourmet jar of mincemeat, which will be perfect. Otherwise any old jar will do.
I also like to use a food processor to make quick work of the crust. If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix it with a fork until the mixture is smooth. You’ll also need a small star-shaped cookie cutter, unless you’re very handy at cutting out stars.
Here’s the recipe:
2 cups flour
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup margarine
½ cup sugar
grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
1 tablespoon soy yogurt
1 tablespoon (plus more) ice water
extra flour for dusting
1 ½ cup mincemeat
soymilk for brushing the tops
confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)
Place the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Chunk the margarine into bits and add the mixture; pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add soy yoghurt and 1 tablespoon ice water. Pulse to combine, adding more water if necessary.
Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin tin with cooking spray. Remove the chilled dough and separate 12 walnut (1 ½ inch) pieces. Save the remaining dough for the stars.
Roll into a ball and dip into flour. With a rolling pin or a glass, roll the ball into a flat circle, about 3 inches wide. Place the circle into each muffin tin, pressing down with the edges coming up the sides about ½ inch. Don’t worry if the shape is uneven. (If you want more perfect tarts, roll the dough flat and cut into 12 round shapes with a 3-inch round cookie cutter.)
Fill each shape with about 2 teaspoons of mincemeat. Flatten the remaining dough with a rolling pin and cut into small star shapes. Place the stars on top of the mincemeat and brush the tops with soymilk.
Bake at 12-15 minutes or until they begin to turn brown. Let cool, then remove from the muffin tins. If desired, you can dust the tops with confectioner’s sugar.