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Hi there,

There’s a saying better late than never and this certainly applies to these tarts as I originally planned to make them back in December 2014, then again in December 2015. However, it was only this weekend that I finally got round to making them when I came across this recipe by accident. I was actually looking for a fruit loaf recipe in my Paul Hollywood’s British Baking book, but these were a happy accident so the fruit loaf will be next weekend’s task!

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Just after Christmas I made some mince pies so I was interested to see how the filling of these Ecclefechan tarts would compare against normal mincemeat. But before I could find out I needed to make the pastry first and like the mince pies I took the easy route by blitzing all the ingredients in my food processor before leaving it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

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The filling was even easier to make and was simply brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, sherry vinegar and mixed fruit all mixed together.

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The hardest part for me was rolling out the pastry to the same depth and making the cases look pretty in the muffin tin, which wasn’t altogether successful. However, they did look pretty good just before they went into the oven to bake.

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I’d say getting the pastry right is key to these tarts looking good. Mine fell slightly short and I probably added too much mixture in each case as they bubbled and oozed over the sides even though I only baked them for 15 minutes. So although mine didn’t look the greatest they did taste pretty scrummy, although they were slightly too sweet, but then again I’ve been trying to reduce my sugar intake so everything tastes overly sweet to me. My husband on the other hand loved them and described them as being dark, intense and treacly. He also thought they’d be perfect with some nice rum or whisky.

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All the flavours worked well together, the pastry was nice and crisp and with the addition of the fruit and nuts these tarts had great texture. However, if I had to choose I’d say the mince pies I made just after Christmas were my favourite. But that said I’d still make this recipe again and next time I’d probably add some cherries, almonds and pistachios to mix it up a bit.

Ingredients

Pastry:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 100g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tsp ice-cold water

Filling:

  • 150g dark soft brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 25g walnuts
  • 25g pecans

Equipment:

  • 12 hole muffin tin
  • A 10cm pastry cutter

Method:

  1. To make then pastry, put the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the butter. Rub it in lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water and stir in with a round-bladed knife. When the dough begins to stick together, gently knead it into a small ball. To make the dough in a food processor, add the flour, icing sugar and butter together, then add the liquid.
  2. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 2-3mm thickness. Using a 10cm cutter, cut out 12 circles and use them to line a muffin tin.
  4. For the filling, beat the brown sugar with the eggs, then beat in the melted butter. Add the vinegar and dried fruit and mix well, then divide the mixture between the pastry cases.
  5. Chop the nuts and sprinkle them over the tarts. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling has a slight wobble.
  6. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool. Remove the tarts from the muffin tray while still warm.

Suz x

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