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Monday, 7 April 2014

Store Cupboard Spring Cleaning

Sweet Mince Frangipane Tart

I recently created this recipe with some leftovers from Christmas.

 I suddenly realised that I didn't know what was lurking at the back of my fridge and it was in need of a long over due clean out.
The fact I couldn't see the back of the fridge any more was more than a good enough incentive to have a Spring clear out.

I was on a mission - sleeves rolled up, bin bag at the ready.......

There were a few surprising finds - Vitalite margarine (with a best before date of November 2012),
long forgotten jars of jam, mustard with a tea spoon left in the bottom of the jar,
a squeezy bottle of salad dressing that was entirely inedible.
Gosh, how embarrassing.

However, I did feel a huge sense of satisfaction that my top shelf was clear
(and the bin bag was full)
and the light in the fridge actually illuminated the lower shelves now.

One little bit of unexpected treasure I found was a jar of  home made sweet mince  left over from Christmas.
This stuff keeps for at least six months so I was most definitely not going to let this tasty treat go unused.

The dilemma was, "what do I do with it"?

I couldn't really make individual mince pies in April. 
That would be just plain wrong.

So I played around for a little while, 
perused my many recipe books, 
and with a little help form the lovely Mary Berry, 
I came up with the idea of a big tart that you could cut into individual slices.

So quick and easy.

You will need :

For the pastry -
225g plain flour
100g butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water

For the filling -
Generous helping of home made sweet mince meat
175g butter
175g caster sugar
4 eggs
175g ground almonds
1 teaspoon of almond extract

For the topping -
75g icing sugar
juice of half a lemon
50g flaked almonds

1. Pre heat your oven to 190c / 170c fan / gas 5. 

2. To make the pastry I use my food processor. 
Simply pulse the flour and butter together until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. 
Add the caster sugar and give it another quick whizz. 
Finally add the egg and as much of the water as necessary to bring the mix together into a ball. 
This is so quick and easy but if you prefer, or do not have a processor, just use the usual rubbing-in method. 
Tip onto the bench and gently work the dough for a few seconds, wrap in cling film, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

3. Roll our the pastry on a floured surface and use to line your desired shaped flan tin. 

I used a square one which I picked up last year from TKMaxx and it's been begging to be used, but I simply never had anything appropriate to put in it.
It is the equivalent of a 10 inch tin.
I tend to roll the pastry out over the loose bottom of the tin so that I can see how much pastry I will need to line the sides.

When ready simply fold the sides of the pastry in on themselves and plop the base back into the tin, and you can unfold the pastry into place.

This eliminates having to fight with the pastry on the rolling pin and then tearing it when you are trying to get it evenly into the tin a thing of the past.

4. If you have time pop the lined pastry tin back into the fridge to chill for a further 10 minutes, then line with parchment paper and fill with ceramic baking beans.
Place on a baking tray and blind bake in the oven for around 15 minutes until the pastry appears 'set' and a pale brown colour.
Remove the baking beans and paper and place back into the oven for a further 10minutes until the base is completely cooked.
By this time it will be a more golden colour.

5. Now to make the filling. 
Pop the butter and sugar back in the processor and blend until smooth and creamy, 
or if doing by hand, cream together until you get the same consistency.
Add the eggs and blend, then finally mix in the ground almonds and almond extract.
This should now resemble a soft , thick, creamy mixture.

6. Spread a thin layer of the sweet mince onto the base of the cooked pastry case and spoon the almond mixture on top.

7. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the filling is set.
If it starts to look a little too brown on top before cooking is finished, simply cover loosely with a piece of tin foil.

8. Remove from the oven.

9. To finish the topping, make the glace icing by mixing the lemon juice with the icing sugar. 
You can add a little water if necessary until it reaches a pouring consistency.
Spread gently over the tart with a pastry brush and then sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.

Pop the tart back into the oven for 5-10 minutes just to set the icing and it will take on a lovely glazed shine.

Serve warm or cold.

Until next time, enjoy your day.

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