Sunday, 31 January 2010
I could make a thousand excuses as to why I haven't been blogging, but I won't. I don't really know why I've been neglecting this blog - I felt all tingly and happy when I entered in the name of today's post.
Anyway, a billion trillion apologies! Let's get onto the food.
This year (this year? Last year!) I made homemade mincemeat, which is the easiest recipe ever. You gather all your stuff, chuck it all into a massive bowl and mix. Sure, the ingredient list is kinda long, but the process is child's play.
I pretty much used Delia's recipe, changing the ratios and flavours wherever I felt like it. I also didn't bother heating it, but just packed it tightly into sterilised jars (dishwashed, dried in a low oven).
So basically, I had a buttload of mincemeat to use up that had been lurking in the cupboard for two months. Yes, I could have made mince pies but that's a pain in the ass! So a tart it was. Lazy as I am, I acknowledged the fact that one cannot make an entire tart out of dried fruits. This is where the frangipane came in - a soft, almost creamy layer to complement the flaky, crumbly pastry and fruit.
The pastry was a classic shortcrust (half fat to flour) bound only with a little water.
I didn't make enough pastry for the huuuuge case, and ended up having to do a major patch-up job on it. So it look pretty ugly unfortuently. No sugar was added since the filling is sweet enough. In terms of fat, I would advocate using half butter and half lard. Lard freaks people out for some reason, but it really gives the best results. You could use vegetable shortening at a push I guess.
This tart is best served warm with maybe a little cream poured on top if that's the way you roll.
For the pastry, combine 4oz of sifted plain flour with 2oz of salted butter and 2oz lard (both cubed and cold). Rub with fingertips until the texture resembles breadcrumbs.
Bind with as little water as possible.
Blind bake until very lightly golden.
Blind baking with (dried) kidney beans! Works just as well as ceramic baking beads, and the beans are totally reusable.
For the frangipane, clickety click.
Spread frangipane over the bottom of the tart case. Bake until firm to the touch, top with as much mincemeat as you desire and bake again until the mincemeat is slightly golden on top.
The tart was awesome, and I got a thumbs-up from Jamie!
Next time I may have the mincemeat as the bottom layer and the frangipane as the top - this would negate the need for a third baking.
My mincemeat and frangipane tart, if it were to enter a beauty contest, would get totally booed offstage. I'll think of a way to make it more presentable (individual tartlettes would certainly help) but for now, for the family, it's all good!