Every year, without fail, I hit the kitchen at Christmas to get baking. These cranberry tarts, mince pies and Christmas mish-mash are tried and tested favourites which fill the house with the scent of ginger, cinnamon and fruit and always manage to help with our Christmas spirit. They are also perfect to make with children and ideal for putting out for Santa's treat!
They are also really simple - like every other person around this time of year, I am always a bit flustered in the build up to Christmas day and so I cheat as much as possible. I don't bother making my own pastry and I certainly don't make my own mincemeat, but if you feel the inclination (and have more time on your hands than I do), please go ahead!
1 sheet ready rolled shortcrust pastry (fully defrosted)
300g fresh cranberries
100g granulated sugar
Pre heat the oven to 180C and grease a 12 hole shallow muffin tray
Put the cranberries, sugar and water into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries have broken down and you have a tart sauce.
Cut out pastry disks slightly larger than each muffin tray hole and smaller ones for the lids - I used stars and gingerbread men - and press the larger ones into the holes in the tray. Fill up each case with the cranberry sauce and then pop a top on each tart.
Bake for about 15 minutes until golden, remove and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling tray.
Dust with icing sugar; they will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container.
200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
100g dark brown or muscovado sugar
200g unsalted butter at room temperature
200g mixed fruit and nuts - whatever you fancy or have lying around (pecans, raisins, sultanas, cranberries, chocolate chips, dates, figs, glace cherries etc)
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cassia bark (or 2 tsp cinnamon)
4 ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp all spice
2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Mix all the other ingredients together then add to the sugar, egg and butter mixture and mix fully
Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and leave to cool completely before cutting up.
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