MINCE PIE TART
with CHRISTMAS CUSTARD
2 small apples (about 200g)
1 x 454g jar fruit mincemeat
2 tbsp mixed citrus peel
1 tbsp brandy
flour for dusting
400g ready made puff pastry
star shaped cookie cutters
milk for brushing
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
For the custard:
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange rind
Step 2.) Peel and grate the apples. Squeeze out any excess liquid and place in a mixing bowl. Add the fruit mincemeat, citrus peel and brandy. Mix well.
Step 3.) Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Line the tart tin with puff pastry. Cut the excess pastry away from the rim. Press the scraps into a ball and roll out again. Cut out star shapes of various sizes.
Step 4.) Tip the fruit mince mixture into the tart tin. Arrange the stars on top of the tart and brush lightly with some milk.
A month or two ago I was given a large bag of home grown lemons. My husband immediately requested a home made lemon meringue tart, and as it is also one of my favourites I happily obliged. While I was whisking up the meringue and lost in my own thoughts a wave of inspiration hit me – if I could make a lemon meringue pie, why not make a chocolate meringue pie? (I often have chocolate on the brain, so this sudden idea should not be too surprising.)
I do enjoy a cooking challenge, and when I was contacted by the team at Faithful to Nature and invited to participate in their recent blogger competition I was immediately interested. The challenge was this – to create one seasonal, organic, vegetarian family meal using pantry products from Faithful to Nature as well as fresh organic produce. Each blogger received a voucher to purchase their choice of products from the thousands and thousands of products on the Faithful to Nature website, ordered their goodies online and then used them to create a delicious dish.
“Paddington thought for a moment. ‘I think I’ll start in the kitchen,’ he said. ‘I may make some pastry. Bears like pastry.’ “
Excerpt from Paddington and the Busy Day – Michael Bond
Since I do not have any pastry loving Peruvian bears at home to make it for me, I tend to keep a pack of puff pastry in the freezer. Open tarts make an easy and delicious supper option for week days. I usually make something along the lines of a pesto, chicken and mushroom type of combo but also like to try new flavours every now and then. This veggie version is adapted from an Ottolenghi recipe for sweet potato galettes. I added some butternut cubes and a delicious thyme oil for extra flavour.
If you wanted to make this ahead of time you could prepare the thyme oil and roast the veggies, but be sure to assemble and bake the tarts just before serving. Serve as a starter or alongside a crunchy salad for lunch. To be honest, they also make a great supper!
SWEET POTATO, BUTTERNUT and CHEVIN TARTS
400g puff pastry
4 very small sweet potatoes, scrubbed with skins on (about 400g)
300g butternut chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
100g soft chevin
Step 3.) Combine the olive oil, garlic, thyme and some salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Step 4.) Arrange the pastry circles on a greased tray, allowing some room for spreading. Beat the egg and brush lightly over the pastry. Spoon a layer of sour cream onto each round, leaving a 1/2 cm border. Don’t worry if its not perfectly even.