MINCE TARTS, MEMORIES OF MY FATHER

Christmas, 1944.  Mona, Heather and me.

The carol festival at Wesley United Church marked the beginning of the celebrations of Christmas.    It always seemed to be bitterly cold that first week in December.  My Mother, and we sisters would walk almost a mile to the church.  Scarves crisscrossed across our faces, double mittens, and so much excitement we never felt the cold.

And then the walk home in the still, clear  dark night.   The stars were brilliant and to the north the Northern Lights put on a magnificent light show.  Our boots crunched in the snow and we hurried home to the treat that awaited us.  The wood stove crackled.  Our father was making and baking mince pies.  How glorious to walk into our toasty, warm house,  and eat the pies hot from the oven.

Dad’s  mince tarts were so flaky they literally drifted through t he air and into our waiting mouths.   His secret  lard to make the pastry.      We sisters still use our  Father’s recipe.  It’s pretty simple (or at least we pastry makers feel that way).  But if you follow the directions, and cheat a little (roll the pastry between wax paper, chill the flour) you can pull these beauties out of the oven and wow your family and friends.    Every home should have mince tarts baking in the oven at this time of year.  These were the tarts Baking Husband took from the oven to enjoy after the tree was trimmed.

MINCE TART:  makes around 30 morsels of delight

Pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 tsp salt

2/3 cup chilled lard cut into small pieces

5-6 tbsp cold water

l egg yolk beaten with a little water.

Before you start making the pastry put the flour and salt mixture into the  freezer for 30 minutes or so.   Chill a cup of water at the same time. Cut the lard  into the flour mixture with a pastry blender,  or if you’re using your food processor use the pulse button to process just until it looks like large flakes of oatmeal.

Add the water gradually, a tablespoon at a time tossing the mixture lightly with a fork.  If you are using the food processor add the water and process just until mixed.  It should be loose in the  bowl.

Turn your pastry out onto your board and form into a ball.  Flatten the ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a good 15 minutes or more.  This allows the pastry to relax.  And everyone knows pastry should be relaxed.

Divide the pastry in to two portions.

Roll out one portion 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into circles about  1 3/4 in diameter.  This will be your base.  Cut the second half into circles about 2 1/2 inches across.  These will be your tops.

Moisten the edges of your base and put a small amount   of mincemeat on each circle.  Top with the larger circles.  Press the edges to seal.   Brush with egg wash and bake around 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Enjoy!

Chefs note:

We made our mincemeat at Roxy’s Bistro.  We used a traditional recipe using suet and a good dollop of brandy.   Taste your purchased mincemeat.  You will probably need to add some additional flavour.  Add a little freshly grated nutmeg, a sprinkle of powdered cloves, a good amount of cinnamon, some allspice and a little lemon or orange juice.  And, if you have some brandy glaze it over your mincemeat.

MINCE TARTS, MEMORIES OF MY FATHER
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: 30 morsels
Every home should have mince tarts baking in the oven at this time of year. These were the tarts Baking Husband took from the oven to enjoy after the tree was trimmed.
Ingredients
  • Pastry:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup chilled lard cut into small pieces
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water
  • l egg yolk beaten with a little water.
Instructions
  1. Before you start making the pastry put the flour and salt mixture into the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Chill a cup of water at the same time. Cut the lard into the flour mixture with a pastry blender, or if you're using your food processor use the pulse button to process just until it looks like large flakes of oatmeal.
  2. Add the water gradually, a tablespoon at a time tossing the mixture lightly with a fork. If you are using the food processor add the water and process just until mixed. It should be loose in the bowl.
  3. Turn your pastry out onto your board and form into a ball. Flatten the ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a good 15 minutes or more. This allows the pastry to relax. And everyone knows pastry should be relaxed.
  4. Divide the pastry in to two portions.
  5. Roll out one portion ⅛ inch thick. Cut into circles about 1¾ in diameter. This will be your base. Cut the second half into circles about 2½ inches across. These will be your tops.
  6. Moisten the edges of your base and put a small amount of mincemeat on each circle. Top with the larger circles. Press the edges to seal. Brush with egg wash and bake around 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
Notes
Chefs note: We made our mincemeat at Roxy's Bistro. We used a traditional recipe using suet and a good dollop of brandy. Taste your purchased mincemeat. You will probably need to add some additional flavour. Add a little freshly grated nutmeg, a sprinkle of powdered cloves, a good amount of cinnamon, some allspice and a little lemon or orange juice. And, if you have some brandy glaze it over your mincemeat.

 

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