Friday, December 10, 2010

The Eighth Day of Christmas:: Butter, Cranberry and Mincemeat Tarts

Butter, Cranberry and Mincemeat Tarts

These generously large tarts are colour and flavour accents on any Christmas cookie plate. The aromas from your kitchen when the snow if falling outside and the season's carols are playing on the radio will always smell and spell Christmas. Let these tarts cool before removing them from the cooking tin. Use a muffin tin and your favourite pastry recipe for this confection.

To make the pastry:

51/2 cups flour

2 tsp salt

21/3 cups lard

1 tbsp vinegar

1 egg

1/2-3/4 cups water

Mix together the flour and salt. Cut in lard by cutting the lard into small cubes and blending it into the flour until it is the consistency of course meal. In a measuring cup, place egg, water and vinegar to make a cup of liquid and pour quickly into the flour mixture until it is blended. Divide the mound into 6 rounds, dust with flour and refrigerate. This pastry flour recipe will allow you to do all three kinds of tarts, so it is suggested that you make 6 rounds of pastry and place them in the refrigerator until your are ready for the next tray of tarts.

Butter Tart Filling

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

4 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp light corn syrup

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coarse salt

3 eggs

12 pecan halves

Have prepared pastry cut into thin circles and place into muffin tins. Place in oven set at 425 degrees and after 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees. After tins have been in the oven for a total of 20 minutes, remove and let cool.

To prepare the butter tart filling, melt sugar, butter and maple syrup and bring to boil without stirring for 6 minutes until it is dark in colour. Let cool. Blend 3 eggs, cream and vanilla and add to the cooled mixture. Pour into cooled pastry shells. Add a pecan half to the top of each tart. After 1 hour, the tarts are ready to serve.

Cranberry Tart Filling

2 cups cranberries

2 cups water

1 cups sugar

1 tsp lemon rind

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp cornstarch

In a saucepan, place all ingredients and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 20-30 minutes until the cranberry shells have broken and it appears to be a sauce. In a cup, blend lemon juice and cornstarch and place it in the cranberry mixture. Stir gently for another 5 minutes until thick.

Make the rounds of pastry for the cranberry tarts, fill the shells with the filling and place in the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees. After 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees. After a total of 20 minutes, remove from oven and cool.

Mincemeat Tart Filling

Prepare your own mincemeat preserves or purchase mincemeat to prepare your tarts in the same manner as Cranberry tarts.

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