Usually I buy the Tasti brand of Fruit Mince as the filling for the Christmas Mince Pies, but this year the recipe, or proportion of fruit at least, has changed.
So what was I to do? I bought every last pottle of the Christmas Mince I could find, then proceeded to make a fruit compote and use that instead.
My first few batches of CMP were with the compote. It tasted fine, perhaps a little more spice would have been good. But it was a bit chewy by comparison. No one complained and they were all heartily eaten.
I fluffed about with the sweet shortcake. I’ve been using the same recipe for yonks, but I decided to change things up a little. Like add Vodka instead of cold water. I don’t know why I wanted to try different things. I just wanted to see if it was possible to make it even better. Turns out it’s not. There’s a saying “if it ain’t broken don’t try to fix it”, well it’s true here.
In the end I went back to my original (tweaked recipe) that I’ve used for as long as I’ve been whipping up CMPs for Mr Fussy – almost 10 years I suspect.
Usually the CMPs start right around Canterbury Show Day (provincial anniversary). It coincides with him putting the Christmas Tree up. Honestly he starts making noises about putting the tree up around Labour Weekend. And I urge him not to.
It doesn’t help that malls start putting their Christmas decorations up earlier and earlier each year. I really do feel like I nag at him to wait. Those couple of weeks between Labour Weekend and Show Day are hard work. I’m always anxious that one weekend he’ll drag the decorations out early.
The recipe I’m sharing is for the sweet shortcake. I think it started from a recipe Mum gave me, wherever it originated from, I made some changes to it, and have been making it like this for as long as I remember. I can’t even recall why I made the changes now, but we like it and all agreed that I should return to it instead of tinkering about with the recipe.
The dough has a lovely crunch to it, it’s subtle but it’s there.
I usually get 12 CMP and then at least one mini tart sized one as well.
Usually I dust the CMP with icing sugar after they have cooled enough that the icing sugar wont get absorbed into the dough.
Because I end up making so many CMPs, this year I went in search of a pastry tamper. It’s the little things. And yes this does actually save me a little bit of fiddling about easing the dough into the tin.
I even made some little tarts, this was from dough that I’d made a previous time and had frozen. While people say you can freeze pastry/dough I’ve never done it before and I was happy to find that it works just as well as if it were made and used the same day.
After the lead up to Christmas this year, I’m beginning to wonder how I managed without the star cut-out. I seem to have used it for all sorts, Gingerbread, Shortbread, and now the top for these mini tarts. They found their way to Mr Fussy’s work.
Sweet Shortcake – Perfect for Christmas Mince Pies
- 1 ¾ cup Flour (260gm)
- 125 gm Butter – cubed
- 25gm Icing Sugar
- 80 gm Castor Sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon cold water
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Put flour, baking powder, and the sugars in a food processor and turn on to mix together.
Place butter and egg into the food processor and pulse until the butter is about the size of a pea.
While the food processor is running, add the water and process until the dough starts to clump. Don’t over process though.
When you pinch the shortcake dough between your finger and thumb it should hold.
Dump the dough onto a floured bench and bring together with your hands to form a mound.
Gently knead the dough until it is smooth. Usually only a 1/2 dozen or so kneads.
Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thick and use cutters (2 different sizes, larger for the base, smaller for the lid)
Line the tin with the larger cut outs, fill with your choice of Fruit Mince and place the smaller cut out on top, gently pressing to seal the lid. Careful not to overfill or you’ll have difficulty getting the lids to seal. Mine are slightly over filled.
Bake for 13 minutes or until the edges start to colour.
Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before easing out and cooling on a rack.
Dust with icing sugar if you wish.
Makes enough for 12 mince pies and usually two small tarts.
I use this same recipe when making the French Lemon Cream Tart and when I make a Rhubarb and Strawberry Tart. Talking of which, my Rhubarb plant has really taken off and I must get some stalks in for stewing, or preparing for a tart. I would have done so today but with temperatures reaching 31deg I wasn’t all that keen to hover around the oven.