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Homemade Mincemeat Tart Recipe & Video

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Baking plays an important role during the holiday season. Every family has their own traditions and for me, Christmas would not be complete without a Mincemeat Tart. This dessert has a buttery crisp top and bottom pastry crust, and the filling is a spicy yet sweet homemade vegetarian mincemeat. It is delicious warm from the oven, at room temperature, or even cold, with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

In the beginning Mincemeat was made with meat (hence the name), along with eggs, dried fruits, and spices. Over time, beef suet (kidney fat) came to replace the meat and the eggs were dropped completely from the recipe. Today's mincemeat is thought of as a spicy preserve consisting of a mixture of dried and candied fruits, apples, and spices (with or without beef suet) that are heavily laced with alcohol. Now, the recipe given here is vegetarian, which means it does not contain beef suet. Instead we use butter. Mincemeat is often made by mixing all the ingredients together and then letting it macerate in jars for several weeks. However, this recipe is a little different in that it is just stewed for a short time which allows all the fruits to absorb the liquid and become wonderfully soft and plump. The great part about this recipe is that the mincemeat is ready to use the day it's made, although you can store it in the refrigerator for about a month. Just stir it once or twice a week and add more alcohol if the mincemeat looks dry.
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Homemade Mincemeat: Place all the ingredients, except the alcohol, in a large saucepan. Cook, over medium low heat, stirring often, until the butter has melted. Then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the alcohol. Let the mincemeat cool completely, then transfer to a covered container, and place in the refrigerator until well chilled, preferably overnight. This recipe makes about 3 3/4 cups (850 grams) of mincemeat.

(The Mincemeat can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month. If storing longer than a week, stir in a little alcohol once or twice a week to keep it from drying out and to preserve the mincemeat.)

Pastry: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Add about 1/4 cup (60 ml/grams) water and pulse until the dough  holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half (about 330 grams each), flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes or until firm. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 

Mincemeat Tart: Butter, or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. 

Remove one round of pastry from the refrigerator, and on a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry into a 1/8-inch (3 mm) thick circle. To make sure the pastry is large enough, take the bottom of the tart pan and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about two inches (5 cm) larger than the pan. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).  

When the pastry is the desired size, slip the bottom plate of the tart pan under the pastry until it is in the center. Fold the over hanging edges of the pastry into the center and transfer (the pastry and bottom plate) into your tart pan. (See video for demonstration.) Then lightly press the pastry up the sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over the top of the pan to get rid of excess pastry. Place the tart pan in the refrigerator to chill the pastry.

Next, remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Using a 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) star cookie cutter, cut out 20 stars. Place the stars on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes). 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Remove the chilled tart from the refrigerator and fill with about 3 cups (650 grams) of the homemade mincemeat and dot with 1 tablespoon (13 grams) of butter that has been cut into small pieces.

Egg Wash: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the rim of the pastry and the tops of the pastry stars with the egg wash. Starting at the outside edge of the tart, place the pastry stars in a circular pattern on top of the mincemeat, making sure the tips of the stars are touching. (See video for demonstration.) If desired, sprinkle the tops of the pastry stars with granulated or sparkling white sugar.

Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is a beautiful golden brown and the mincemeat is bubbling. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. This tart can be frozen.

Serves about 8-10 people.

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Homemade Mincemeat:

5 tablespoons (70 grams) butter, diced

1 small tart apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

1/2 cup (90 grams) dark raisins

1/2 cup (90 grams) golden raisins

1/2 cup (75 grams) dried currants

1/2 cup (90 grams) dried cranberries or cherries

1/2 cup (80 grams) candied mixed peel

Zest and juice of one orange or lemon

1/2 cup (110 grams) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (120 ml/grams) alcohol (rum, whisky, brandy, sherry, etc.)

Pastry:

2 2/3 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) fine kosher salt

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar (optional)

1 cup (225 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1/4 to 1/3 cup (60 - 80 ml/grams) ice cold water

Egg Wash:

1 large egg yolk (18 grams), at room temperature

1/2 tablespoon cream

1 tablespoon (13 grams) butter, cut into small pieces

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