For me, mince pies are more about the mincemeat than the pastry, so I thought it best to come up with an alternative to the traditional shortcrust-heavy version. These mince pie tarts use puff pastry, which may be just as calorific, but less heavy than shortcrust. And of course tarts have no lids, so the pastry to filling ratio ends up being about 50/50.
Making mince pie tarts instead of mince pies also gives you more scope for different shapes and sizes too. Make them as big or small as you like, but remember that the small ones might not last very long. No sooner had I put this lot down on the table had Mr Rice eaten nearly all of them. They are delicious, and so easy to make, but the making is much longer than the eating.
Recipe for Mince Pie Tarts
1 medium jar of mincemeat
100g glace cherries, roughly chopped
50g pecans, roughly chopped
50g flaked almonds
150ml Disarronno Amaretto
100g ground almonds
200g puff pastry
50 ml milk
Mix together all the ingredients except the milk, ground almonds and the pastry in a bowl and leave to stand. Sprinkle your working surface with flour to prevent the pastry from sticking, then roll out until 3-5mm thick. Choose the size/s you would like to make and cut these shapes out of the pastry, then move them to a floured and lined baking tray. Carefully brush each piece with milk, then sprinkle on a light layer of ground almonds.
If you want the edges of the tarts to rise up around the filling, carefully score a line all the way round each one, about 1 cm from the edge, and carefully spoon the filling inside this area. You can skip this bit if you like and just carefully spoon the mincement mixture into the centre of each tart, and the tarts will just rise a little less, but be just as delicious.
Cook at 180ºC for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is turning golden brown. Leave to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove from the baking tray onto a cooling rack. Serve on their own or with cream or ice cream.
© Katheryn Rice 2007