Mother & Daughter baking – Butterfly Jam Tarts

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More evening baking in our household for this Tuesdays pudding. The cupboards were a tad bare today so good old pastry made an appearance.

I’ve said it before but I don’t really use a recipe for standard shortcrust – it is now cemented in my brain so firm I don’t always even use scales. The original recipe I used when cooking with my mother was always from our flour and egg stained Be-Ro book and it goes a little something like this:

8oz plain flour
2oz butter
2oz lard
Enough cold water to combine the ingredients

Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well and pour in the cold water a little at a time until it comes together in a firmish dough. Cool in the fridge for about 30 mins then roll out thinly.

So, back to the Tarts in hand. Pastry made and tins lined my daughter Kate & I next raid the fridge for jam to put in our tarts. Half a jar of apricot jam springs to our attention and next thing you know, we’ve filled the pastry cases and licked a couple too many spoons. We had some extra pastry left over so decided to top our tarts with some butterfly shapes using our favourite butterfly cutter set. 12 minutes in the oven and about 30 seconds to eat them all!

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Classic Mince pies with drizzle icing

There are tonnes of mince pie recipes out there with different methods and variations on the pastry or homemade filling.  This one is the most simple shortcrust pastry and filling from a jar with a couple of added extras.  It may not win any prizes but it’s a great recipe for the kids to do with you or even if your a homemade mince pie virgin. I am always shocked at the amount of people who buy standard boxes of mince pies and most of them are pretty bad in my opinion compared to making your own.  So, if you’ve never made mince pies before try it today! This is quick and simple and, of course, they freeze amazingly so are perfect for when unexpected guests pop over in the holidays or as a last minute gift boxed with a bit of nice christmas ribbon. This makes about 18.

preheat oven to gas mark 6 or 200c/400F

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

8oz (225g) plain flour

2oz (50g) lard

2oz (50g) butter

2 tbsp cold water

For the filling

1 jar of Robinsons mincemeat

1 tsp brandy (optional)

Milk or egg to glaze

Icing sugar and a few drops of water to make the icing.

I have been using this shortcrust pastry recipe since I was 6 and it was from a Be-Ro book my mother still has. It can easily be adapted to a sweet pastry by adding 1oz (25g) of caster or icing sugar if you wish. Put the flour and fats into a bowl and rub until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and combine until it makes a firm dough. Try to handle the dough too much. Roll out thinly and cut 18 large circles and 18 medium circles for the lids.  You will need to re roll the pastry once to get the full quantities out of the mixture but try not to re roll any more than this or the dough will be come tough. Lay out the bottoms of the mince pies into shallow bun tins.

Empty 1/2 the contents of the jar of mincemeat into a bowl and add the brandy and mix well. Spoon a tsp of the mincemeat into each pie and top with a lid. Add two or three holes into the lids with a knife to allow to steam to come out. Glaze well with the milk or egg. Bake for approx 15 mins or until golden brown.

When cool make up a small amount of run out icing with some icing sugar and a few drops of water and drizzle over the top of the mice pies. Dust with icing sugar to finish.