Alison Holst's Summer Fruit Mince Meat
This mincemeat recipe is much lighter, fresh tasting and prettier than the traditional, dark coloured “wintery” mincemeat mixtures, and seems just right for mid-summer festivities.
Refrigerate it in a tightly covered container for two weeks or so, using it in various, interesting, different ways, or freeze it in one or two cup amounts.
- For about 6 cups of mincemeat:
- About 100 g dried apricots, finely chopped
- About 100g dried nectarines, finely chopped
- About 100g dried cranberries
- About 100g crystallised cherries or razz cherries, quartered
- About 100g light coloured, preferably large, long sultanas, sliced crosswise
- About 50g crystallised ginger or crystallised pineapple, finely chopped
- 1 cup chardonnay or sauvignon blanc
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 can (about 400g) sliced peaches in syrup or juice, chopped
- 2 level Tbsp custard powder or cornflour
- 2 Tbsp cold water
Choose good quality dried or crystallised fruit. Change quantities and varieties if you like, but choose a colourful and flavourful mixture. Using scissors dipped in cold water at intervals, cut all the fruit into small cubes about the size of small peas.
Put the prepared fruit in a medium- large frypan with the wine, water and sugar, cover lightly and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring at intervals.
Meanwhile drain the peach liquid into the pan and chop the drained peaches crosswise into small pieces. Add them to the pan after the dried fruit has plumped up, and bring to the boil again.
Mix the custard powder or cornflour with the cold water until smooth, then stir into the mixture. When it has thickened, take off the heat. Cool before use, refrigerating or freezing what you are not using straight away.
FOR FILO MINCEMEAT TRIANGLES - Put spoonfuls of mixture onto one end of strips of filo pastry several layers thick. Fold pastry over filling, always folding in triangles. Brush with melted butter or non-stick spray and bake at 200C for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
FILO BASKETS - Sandwich two sheets of filo together with melted butter or oil. Cut in squares which will go across the bottom and up the sides of patty tins or muffin tins. Put two squares on top of each other to form an 8 pointed star, press into the tins carefully and bake at 200 C until golden brown, 6 – 10 minutes. Just before serving fill with mincemeat, or cream cheese filling (below), then mincemeat( or sliced strawberries), and dust with icing sugar.
FILO MINCEMEAT ROLL - Lightly oil or butter several sheets of filo and place so they partly overlap. Spoon mincemeat down one end and roll up loosely, mincemeat end first. Bake on a flat baking tray at 200C until golden brown, probably 15 - 20 minutes. Serve slices warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar.
MINCEMEAT PLAIT - Roll a sheet of flaky pastry out until 1 1/2 times original size. Mark lightly in three equally wide strips. Spread mincemeat down the middle strip. Cut the outer parts into strips 2 – 3 cm wide, at right angles to the mincemeat. Fold these alternately over the mincemeat, slightly at an angle, so all the mincemeat is covered. Press the pastry ends together, then bake at 200 °C for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
CREAM CHEESE FILLING - Beat together ½ cup firm (not fat reduced) cream cheese and 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar until smooth.. Taste and add more icing sugar if you like the filling sweeter. Flavour to suit your taste, with dark rum or Grand Marnier or other orange flavoured liqueur. Spoon or spread mixture in the bottom of cooked tartlet shells and top with mincemeat or strawberries.
TRADITIONAL SWEET SHORTCRUST FOR MINCE PIES - This is a lovely pastry but quite tricky to work with, especially for an inexperienced baker! Cream together 125 g softened butter and 3/4 cup icing sugar. Add 1 cup each of sifted flour and cornflour and mix to a soft, rollable dough adding small amounts of cold water if it is too dry. Cut in rounds with a cutter. Put a spoonful of filling between two circles of dough in sprayed patty pans and bake at 170 °C for 20 – 30 minutes, until crust colours very lightly, or bake unfilled rounds of shortcrust for a shorter time, lift very carefully from the patty pans, store very carefully to prevent breakages, and spoon in filling(s) just before serving. .