I’m sure I’m not alone in my consciousness of food waste (I’ve written about it more extensively in the past here) and my desire to revert back to the mentality of ‘waste not, want not’ of the past. This tart was born out of this same hatred for food waste; my mum had a couple of jars of homemade mincemeat left over from Christmas which needed to be used up lest they go off.
In fact, I actively enjoy the challenge of finding ways to use up leftover or over-abundant food. In our culture of richness and choice in food, it’s quite refreshing to be presented with just one ingredient and the task of creating something delicious from it. Yes, mincemeat is traditionally a Christmas delicacy, but it can perhaps be short-sighted to write off a foodstuff entirely based on the time of year. The richly fruited and spiced preserve mix has as much, if not more, value in bitter January and February as it does in December.
This tart is an extremely versatile one – it can be made throughout the year with varying fillings depending what is in season. Whilst mincemeat is wonderful in mid-winter, poached rhubarb may be used as spring begins to creep in, and fresh berries and stone fruits in the summer. Alternatively, a layer of good jam nested beneath the frangipane would also be equally delicious.
This is my absolute favourite gluten free pastry recipe, courtesy of Pearl and Groove bakery. It is wonderfully easy to make, and, once chilled, easy to handle. The pastry is so tender and just melts in the mouth – my non-coeliac family love it as much as I do. You will have some leftover pastry, here, but it freezes very well (although I like to use the off cuts to make jam tarts).
For the pastry:
250g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra to dust
65g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
Finely grated zest ½ orange
175g unsalted butter, cubed
1 free-range egg
2-3 tbsp sherry (rum or brandy also works well)
For the frangipane:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs
200g ground almonds
2 level tablespoons plain flour
2 tbsp sweet sherry
About 500g mincemeat
Handful of flaked almonds
- Preheat the oven to 190° Place a large baking tray in the oven.
- For the pastry, briefly whizz the flour, sugar, ground almonds, orange zest and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and use the pulse button to combine until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs. Work swiftly and be careful not to overwork, which would make the pastry tough. Add the egg and 2 tbsp of the sherry, whizz briefly, then bring the pastry together with your hands. (If you don’t have a food processor, put the same ingredients in a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips, then work in the egg and rum with your hands until it comes together.) If the pastry is too dry add just enough extra rum to bring it together; it shouldn’t be wet. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill until ready to use.
- Now make the frangipane. If you’ve used a food processor for the pastry, you can use it again for the frangipane – no need to wash it (alternatively, you can use a hand-held electric whisk). Add the butter and sugar to the food processor bowl, and whizz them until they look smooth and creamy. Then add the eggs, almonds, flour and sherry and process until combined, occasionally scraping down the side of the processor to incorporate all the mixture.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge, and roll it out on a surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Try to be as swift and gentle as you roll it out – ideally to a 3mm thickness. Use the pastry to line a 25cm fluted tart tin – don’t panic if the pastry cracks, just patch it up with the off-cuts.
- Spoon the mincemeat into the tart case, and spread evenly. Spoon the frangipane on top of the mincemeat and smooth neatly. Scatter with flaked almonds.
- Place the tart in the oven on top of the hot tray (this helps to prevent the dreaded soggy bottom). Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the frangipane is puffed, light and golden brown all over.
- This can be served either warm or cold. Excellent with thick cream, vanilla ice cream, or even brandy butter.