Mini Mincemeat Tarts. The classic British dessert is great addition to your Christmas cookie and baking list.

Mini Mincemeat Tarts are a lovely twist on a classic British dessert.

I am a lucky gal.  I have been blessed with a handful of really great friends with whom I have created some wonderful memories and with whom I look forward to creating more memories.  Some of my girlfriends are local, some are several hours away and one is an ocean away, in northern England.

I met my girlfriend Annie 10 years ago when her family lived in Wilmington.  Originally from England, they were temporarily located in the United States and through sheer kismet, moved down the street from us.  Our introduction was through our daughters who met on our local swim team and thereafter became inseparable.  Mincemeat Tarts and Good Friends
In the 3 years that we knew Annie and her family in Wilmington, we made many memories.  We introduced our British friends to ‘the Thanksgiving’ meal and American basketball and they introduced us to the ‘tradition’ of throwing nuts at your windows for good luck, which we since found out wasn’t really based on any tradition! I’m not saying they played a joke on us…but we somehow became convinced that this was a time-honored English tradition.

One of the many common qualities Annie and I shared was the love of cooking.  While visiting their home in England three years ago we made raspberry jam from the raspberries we had just picked in a field and when Annie still lived here, we spent a day baking Christmas cookies and treats in my kitchen.Rolling out pie crust for mini mincemeat tarts
That Christmas baking day is one of my fondest memories.  We made some of each of our family’s favored traditional Christmas treats.  No doubt, I introduced her family to Grandma Stocker’s Pennsylvania Dutch Chocolate Cookies and she introduced our family to the British traditional dessert of mini mincemeat tarts.  While I don’t have Annie baking with me, Kate and I made these mini mincemeat tarts over the weekend and reminisced about our fun times with our good friends.Mini tarts in pan

References to mincemeat in England date back to the 15th century.  At the time, a variety of meats were included in the recipe in addition to dried fruits, spices and alcohol.  Since then the meat in the recipe has been replaced with vegetable or beef suet.  

I had every intention of making my own mincemeat filling, but A) I did not get started in time (it takes a minimum of 2 weeks for the mixture to adequately meld) and B) I didn’t quite know where to find vegetable suet.  So I deferred to Annie who highly recommended Robertson’s Classic Mincemeat.

This product originates in the United Kingdom, but I was able to find it on Amazon as well as my local World Market.  Apples and other fruits comprise almost 60% of the ingredients of mincemeat filling with sugar, spices and vegetable suet filling the rest of the ingredient list.Mincemeat

To make these mini mincemeat tarts, I used Martha Stewart’s Pate Brisee recipe (my go-to pie crust recipe).  I use a 2.5″ round cookie cutter which is perfect for my mini tart pan.  I partially pre-baked the empty tart shells and stars before I filled them to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Mini Mincemeat Tarts. The classic British dessert is great addition to your Christmas cookie and baking list.
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Mini Mincemeat Tarts

Ingredients

Pate Brisee for Tart crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling out crust
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup ice water plus more as needed
  • 15 ounces mincemeat filling I used Robertson's

Instructions

  1. Pulse flour and salt in a food processor until combined.
  2. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
  3. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream until mixture just begins to hold together.
  4. Shape dough into 2 disks. Wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days
  5. Preheat oven to 325'
  6. Roll dough to a thickness of 1/8" or 1/4 "
  7. Cut a circle with a cookie cutter or inverted cup of an appropriate size for your tart pan
  8. Cut stars or another small shape for the top of your tart
  9. Pre bake your tarts and decorative tops at 325' for 7 minutes.
  10. Take tarts out of the oven and increase temperature to 350'
  11. Fill your tarts with mincemeat so that the tart is just about full.
  12. Top with pre-baked decoration
  13. Bake at 350' for another 15 minutes.

Mini Mincemeat Tarts.

I love food and when my love of food and my love of my friends overlap, it’s a good and wonderful thing.  What are the foods that bring back your happiest memories?

Thanks again for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me today.

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Until next time…

Hugs,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. [email protected]

    December 17, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Lynn you are definitely a pro in the kitchen! These look so delicious and that little star on top is too cute! I’ve never tried Mince meat but I’m convinced I’ve seen that jar here in my local supermarket (that carries some foreign foods as well) . I will have to go find out! It sounds like you have such an amazing friend and beautiful memories! How fun it must have been baking together! My happiest memories I think are brought back with chocolate…lol. Any kind any time. But I also have lovely memories about my mom’s and grandmas christmas baking, and I just can’t seem to get it to turn out the way it used to be. Have a lovely Thursday! xO

    Reply
    • lynn

      December 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Hi friend, thanks for your kind words. These little pies are really quite tasty and if you do see a jar in your store, I’d highly recommend you giving them a try. I know you spend time cooking with your friends at your cooking school…those memories are everlasting.
      Chocolate…only good memories with chocolate. I think it’d be impossible to have bad ones.
      Kisses and have a great Friday!

      Lynn

      Reply
  2. Mary-the boondocks blog

    December 17, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Lynn these are too adorable to be eaten! I just love those little stars on top. I have never made mincemeat tarts but they do look scrumptious. We use fyllo dough here in Greece for our pies. It is very flakey and soft. It’s wonderful when you have friends from other cultures and are able to share with them. And of course the best way to share is over food. Have a great weekend!

    Reply
    • lynn

      December 17, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Hi Mary, I absolutely agree that the best memories are made over food. Why is that? And thanks for your sweet words. They are so delicious and I bet they’d be equally delicious with fyllo dough. Maybe a good weekend cooking project for you and your daughter? I know that what my daughter and I will be doing this weekend.
      BTW…started watching The Wire…like it! We are about 4 episodes in.
      Have a great Friday and weekend!

      Lynn

      Reply
  3. Sahar

    December 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    What a lovely story, and what delicious looking tarts–love the little star on top!

    Reply
    • lynn

      December 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Thanks Sahar, the memories I make with my friends are so special and these treats will always remind me of it. Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today. Lynn

      Reply
      • Sahar

        December 24, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        It was my pleasure 🙂

        Reply
  4. Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    December 26, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Your treats are not only yummy, but they are gorgeous bites, the item is so much more delectable because it’s gorgeous. I love the story of your friendship, it’s so nice that you have friends like this! How perfect. My gran used to make mincemeat pies, I could never wrap my head around the filling so I didn’t taste it, but now that I’m older I bet I would like it. Thank goodness my taste buds have developed! LOL

    Reply
    • lynn

      December 27, 2015 at 6:56 am

      Nikki, I served this at a little get together last week and there were several ladies hesitant to try them because of the name. My daughter informed me that she thinks the British have dropped the ‘meat’ part, so they are just called mince pies, which was probably a good marketing tool. Guess I need to modify the name and maybe more folks would try them.

      Happy New year, Lynn

      Reply

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