The queen of tarts
My turn-the-lights-on cocktail party went very well last night: it was a few friends, a few relatives, a few pretty drinks and a pretty good time. We finished up with mince tarts which I think are best when small, made with thin pastry, cooked in gem scone tins for a pleasing round shape and topped with a small star of pastry. Or you can cover them completely or use a different Christmas shape.
Here’s my recipe – but you don’t really need one: just use your favourite pastry, be it homemade or store bought, and your best fruit mince (ditto), assemble the tarts and cook them.
Preparation time 55 minutes
Start 90 minutes ahead
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ tsp lemon juice (or vinegar)
1/3 to ½ cup water
1½ cups fruit mince
Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Grease two 12-hole gem scone trays.
Sift the flours together and rub in the butter. Add the lemon juice to the water and mix enough into the flour mixture to make a firm dough. Knead the dough lightly until smooth and roll out very thin.
Cut circles out of the pastry that are slightly bigger than the diameters of the tart holes in the trays. Cut stars out of the pastry scraps that are slightly smaller than the diameters of the holes in the trays. Line the tart holes with the pastry circles, fill with fruit mince just short of the top, add pastry stars and bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. Cool in tins.
I decorated my dining room today. I used big swoops of fat green tinsel with a single red bauble hanging at each of the high points and it looked really good with the clover garden walls. (Mind you, with a mere four of us, we don’t have to use the dining room at all: we’d fit on the coffee table in the lounge room.)
 Auntie Pat used to ice them but this is extremely unusual, totally unnecessary (they are sweet enough already) and irritatingly confusing: people would think they were getting a flattish cupcake and would find themselves with a mouthful of raisins instead.