Wholesome Fruit Mince Tarts

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This was a strange decision to make mince tarts for the blog… I’m not a great fan of dried fruit, or fruit peel for that matter. But I got chatting to my gorgeous friend Jo last week and we were discussing the finer points of a good mince tart. Not too sweet, no chunks of fruit peel (IMO), and a good pastry – has to be good pastry. So I think that’s why I wanted to give them a go, so that I could make a version that was tailored to my liking. And I guess that is the beauty of cooking really isn’t it!

This is not a super fast recipe, but it’s also not super difficult. At this time of year especially when everything and everyone can be a little crazy, sometimes I like/need the therapy of small, simple tasks. Finely dicing apple, pushing pastry into moulds, it is something that I don’t always have time to do, and when I do I like to think about the people I’m making this for and infuse it with as much love and good vibes as possible. That may sound a little naf, but there you go.

I really love this passage from Sally Fallon:

“Food preparation is actually a sacred activity. According to esoteric lore, if a woman could see the sparks of light going forth from her fingertips when she is cooking, and the energy that goes into the food that she handles, she would realise how much of herself she imbues into the meals that she prepares for her family and friends. It is one of the most important and least understood activities of life that the feelings that go into the preparation of food affect everyone who partakes of it. This activity should be unhurried, peaceful and happy because the energy that flows into that food impacts the energy of the receiver.”

And this shouldn’t be gender specific. Nor it is something designed to make you feel bad, I just think it’s a beautiful place to set your mind and work towards when you can.

So – onto some TARTS!

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These babies have a very rustic, nourishing feel about them, which is what I like. I have changed the filling around a fair bit from your traditional mince tart, but it still has those familiar spice notes. I have used fresh apple and blackberries as a base, and for the dried fruit component dried apricots and cranberries, but you could absolutely sub sultanas, raisins or dried blueberries or cherries if you prefer. Apples are pretty much on the way out at the moment in my part of the world, so if you live near me you will need to be quick to grab some seasonal beauties.

The pastry uses oats, so if you can find gluten free oats then they would be gluten free. I was inspired by a recipe from My New Roots for Hazelnut Pumpkin Pies, but have changed it up a bit. The density in the pastry balances the sweetness of the fruit filling nicely, so that you don’t get that crazy sugar high.

[headline]Wholesome Fruit Mince Tarts[/headline]

Makes approx. 12 tarts

For the filling:

300g apples, cored and finely diced – just leave the skin on for extra fibre and texture

50 – 60g blackberries – fresh or frozen

75g dried apricots – organic if you can, finely diced

50g dried cranberries

zest of one lemon

zest of one orange

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pastry:

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup almonds

1/4 cup rice malt syrup or maple syrup

2 tbsp butter or coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

2-3 tsp water

To make the filling, pop all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes – 1 hour, until the apple is soft and squashy. If you find your mix getting a little dry, squeeze some of the juice from your orange into the mix to keep it moist, although I didn’t need it.

To make to pastry, blitz your oats and almonds in a food processor until you have a fine-ish crumb. Add the rice malt, butter, vanilla and sea salt and blitz again to combine. While the food processor is running, add one teaspoon of the water and see what happens. You want your mix to just start to come together – but not be too wet. I needed 2 tsp of water, but just depending on your mix you may need a little more or less. You want your pastry to stick and hold together pretty well when you press it between your fingers, but it’s pretty forgiving so don’t stress too much 🙂

Grease a 12 hole muffin tin with coconut oil or butter well – you want to be able to get these babies out at the end of it all!

Press your pastry into the muffin tin, pushing it around so that you have no gaps and the pastry is about 1/2cm thick. Alternatively you can also roll out your party between 2 pieces of baking paper and then cut and place into your tin.

Add around one tablespoon of the fruit mix into each tart.

Roll out your remaining pastry and cut some festive shapes to lay on top, or make letters – that would be very cute too!

Pop into the oven at 150 degrees Celsius (300F) and bake for around half an hour, or until the pastry is golden.

Please ALLOW TO COOL COMPLETELY IN THE TIN before you try to get them out. I had two casualties as I couldn’t keep my patient hat on… I find the best way is to gently turn each tart in the mould using just enough pressure to actually move the tart, and then lift it gently out.

And that’s it – a labour of love for you to enjoy and share with loved ones. Happy Holidays! xxx

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