Christmas is coming – two ways with mincemeat

mincemeat filo cigars

I got told off by my husband this week when I attempted to play our special Christmas mix tape in the car. “Too early” he cries, “I’ll be sick of Christmas before it’s even here at this rate”. I sort of get his point, but this week it’s the school nativity and Christmas Fayre and so I’m forced to get in the Christmas mood whether I like it or not (for the sake of the kids of course).

The good thing about this is that I have an excuse to finally try out my homemade mincemeat. I used a new recipe this year so I want to see how it tastes. I’m not great at traditional mince pies but I have these two recipes in my collection which make nice alternatives. The first uses ready-made filo and is a lighter option to shortcrust pastry. The second is a giant slab of a tart which you cut into squares once it has baked meaning that you don’t have to faff around with pastry cutters. It also has a buttery, crumbly topping which is just divine.

It does seem a bit odd ball to make your own mincemeat and then buy ready-made pastry. Of course you can make your own pastry if you prefer. And if you think I’m a glutton for punishment making my own mincemeat then buy it in a jar – it works just fine.

By the way, the homemade mincemeat was great – definitely the best recipe I’ve tried and not very onerous. Not surprisingly it came from good old Delia (yet again). I might blog it next year once I’ve given it another go.

Mincemeat filo cigars

Makes 12

  • 6 ready-made filo sheets cut into 4 x 12.5 cm squares, making 24 in total
  • 40g butter, melted
  • A small  jar of mincemeat
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat your oven to 180oC fan.

Lay a square of filo pastry onto a dry work surface and brush with melted butter. Take another filo sheet and lay this on top.

Spoon a thin line of mincemeat in a diagonal line across the square, then fold the filo sheet in two over the mincemeat to form a triangle. Fold over the two ends about ½ cm from the edge and then roll up into a cigar shape from the mincemeat end up.

Place on a non-stick baking tray with the join at the bottom and continue the process until you have 12 cigars.

Brush the cigars lightly with melted butter and then bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

Serve warm dusted with icing sugar.

You can make these ahead and store in an air tight container. You can then reheat them in the oven (at 180oC fan, as before) for about 5 minutes.

No nonsense mincemeat tart

  • 300g shortcrust pastry (I cheat and buy mine ready-made)
  • 450g mincemeat

Topping

  • 75g butter melted
  • 75g self-raising flour
  • 40g semolina
  • 40g caster sugar

Add all the ingredients for the topping together in a bowl and mix. Tip the mix onto a square of cling film and roll into a thick sausage shape. Chill in the fridge until solid.

Preheat your oven to 190oC fan.

Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle about 3mm thick. Transfer to a rectangular baking sheet and turn the edges of the pastry over slightly at the edges to create a rim.

Spoon the mincemeat over the surface of the pastry and distribute evenly with a palette knife right to the edges.

Take the topping out of the fridge and remove the cling film. Using a cheese grater grate the topping and then sprinkle over the mincemeat evenly. Work quickly here as the butter in the topping will start to melt and stick together when at room temperature.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping and the pastry are nice and golden.

Remove from the oven, cut into rectangles and dust with icing sugar.

If you are making this in advance, to reheat bake for 20 minutes at 150oC fan.

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