Let’s face it: Christmas should be care-free. It should be for curling up near something warm with a hot and spicy mug of mull.
Is it ever?
I’ll concede that when it comes to baking and Christmas, sometimes it’s really worth making the effort. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding, panettone… I wouldn’t ever rush them. As the days grow shorter, though, I don’t want to take time or make effort. I want television and alcohol and paper hats.
This recipe is for the short days,
Ingredients shameless and shop-bought and proud.
Christmas Mincemeat Tarte tatin
1 packet of shop-bought all-butter puff pastry
6-8 sweet apples (any kind will do)
200g golden caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
A splash of water
Juice of 1 Large Lemon
A wee pinch of salt
1/2 a jar of cheap mincemeat
A wee pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Flour, for rolling
Makes one large tarte tatin
1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Peel, slice and core the apples in any way you like. I cut them into 12, by cutting them in half, then in half again, then each bit into three. It doesn’t matter if they start to turn brown – this helps them hold their shape.
2. In an ovenproof frying pan, weigh out the sugar, butter, water, lemon juice and salt. Place the pan on a medium heat, stirring to combine the ingredients. Once it’s boiling, turn it off.
3. Add the apples, the mincemeat and the sprinkling of cinnamon. Return to a high heat and don’t be afraid to boil furiously for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples themselves (not just the surrounding caramel) are beginning to blush brown. The lemon juice will stop the caramel from crystallising.
4. Whilst the apples are bubbling, roll out the pastry with plenty of flour so it is wide enough to cover your frying pan. Once the apples are ready, place the rolled out pastry on top of the pan and trim around the edge using a sharp knife. Tuck the edges of the pastry inside the pan, around the apples.
5. Place the whole pan in the oven to bake for at least 30 minutes – you don’t want a soggy bottom. The pastry should be a deep, golden brown and nicely puffed up. Enjoy hot, with cream.
Have a very, very merry Christmas,