Monday, 15 December 2014

Ecclefechan tarts

I was standing in Sainsburys a few weeks back, perusing the mince pies, when I came across some Ecclefechan tarts. Huh? What? I'd never heard of them before so put them back.

The next week I came across a recipe for them, then another. So I looked into them a little more and decided that it was something I had to bake this Christmas. And today was the day.

I guess they're kind of like a mince pie, they're full of festive flavour and dried fruits, yet they're a little different. Definitely a nice alternative to a mince pie. 

Making your own pastry is a must in my house. You can cheat of course and use shortcrust or puff pastry. The pastry here is more a cross of the two. It's lovely pastry indeed so I do urge you to try and make it yourself. It's not difficult if you have a food processor and you won't be disappointed with the results.

Look at it! Mmmmmm flaky and short 

225g plain flour 
100g unsalted butter, cold and diced
25g caster sugar 
Zest of one orange 
1 egg
A little cold water

2 tbsp treacle
150g dark brown sugar 
1 tbsp vinegar 
125g butter
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
90g currants
80g raisins
30g dried cranberries 
50g glacé cherries (halved)
50g flaked almonds 
2 eggs 

Makes 24
2 pastry tart/cupcake tins

In a large heavy bottomed pan, gently melt together the syrup, sugar, vinegar, butter and mixed spice. Once the butter has melted and all ingredients incorporated take off the heat and add the dried fruit and nuts. Leave to cool on the side.

To make the pastry, start by putting the flour and butter into the food processor and pulse until it resembles crumble. Add the sugar and zest and mix to combine then mix in the egg and enough cold water so it comes together. Be careful not to add too much liquid. Bring together, roll into a ball and chill for 30 minutes.

Once your filling has cooled to room temperature, preheat the oven to 200/180 fan. Beat the two eggs into the filling mixture. Take the pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Use a cutter larger than the recess in the tin so once you pop the pastry disc in, it comes to the top of the sides. Fill each case with one large teaspoon of filling. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is turning golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before leaving to finish cooling on a wire rack. I only have one tin so reused it after 5 minutes but you could leave them to cool completely in the tin.

My first batch didn't look the best in that the filling was escaping the pastry over the top. 

This was too much: 

For the second batch I put a little less filling in but still had a few go over the side. Once you've sprinkled over some icing sugar you can hardly tell. I think!

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