Tuesday, 28 January 2014

how to make : mincemeat streusel

A couple of years ago I had a slice of something delicious - I imagined it was what you'd get if stewed fruit, pastry and crumble somehow had a baby together.  I was (fairly) reliably informed that it was called streusel, and while I've tried to replicate it a few times, I've never been able to make the crumbly topping to be the right kind of consistency.  

I was pondering this a couple of weeks back, and the little voice in my head said what about cornflour?  It gives shortbread that kind of dry crumbly-ness, got to be worth a try...  So I did.  Yum.

The photos aren't great with this post - some are 'borrowed' from a pastry post, others from Petal making mince pies, but hopefully they'll do the job.  Just drop me a line if anything isn't clear, okay?


Ingredients :

Base :
• 350g plain flour
• 225g marg
• 100g sugar
• tsp almond extract

Filling :
• a jar of mincemeat

Topping :
• 75g marg
• 75g plain flour
• 40g cornflour
• 40g sugar

Equipment :
• food processor (with dough blade)
• rolling pin
• loose bottomed flan tin, 36x12cm
(or equivalent)


Directions :

Preheat the oven - 170°c fan, 190°c non fan


Put all the base ingredients in the food processor fitted with the dough blade, and blitz.  It will start to look like gritty damp sand - keep blitzing!  Soon the dough will form into one big lump and some smaller chunks - tip out onto a dry floured work surface, squish together then knead briefly til the dough is smooth.


Roll to ½cm thick, and line a shallow dish (I used this).


Tip mincemeat into tin, spread with a spoon til it's vaguely level

Put topping ingredients into processor, pulse until it's all bitty

Spread this crumbly mixture over the mincemeat - again, try to spread it approximately evenly


Into the oven for 15 minutes, then allow to cool a little in the tin before slicing it up



To serve :

I would recommend warm with custard or cream (but then I'll eat anything most things if you warm them up and cover them in custard - the lifelong legacy of a kid in care for whom the cake and custard pudding of Fridays cooked school dinners were the gastronomical highlight of the week), but can (if you're careful, or you aren't overly fussy about your carpet or furniture) be eaten with your fingers and a nice cup of tea.


Variations :

The mincemeat could be substituted with any chunky kind of filling - a friend of mine suggested a tin of cherry pie filling, or you could use any stewed fruit, just try not to put much liquid with it as this will make the pastry go soggy.
I choose almond extract for the pastry because it goes with mincemeat in my head ( * greedy inner voice whispers * it goes with the mincemeat in my mouth too * ), and, thinking about it, would be delicious with cherry pie filling too, but you can replace this with vanilla extract or just a tablespoon of cold water if you prefer.  If you were putting apple in then a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or ground cloves (or both) would be lovely in the pastry, or you could take a look at this range of liquid flavourings, which come in these varieties and more, including ginger and orange blossom (separately - not ginger and orange blossom together!)



Once it has cooled you can slice up any leftovers and store them in an (cliche alert) airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days, just warm in the microwave (or in an oven proof dish in the oven covered in foil, if you are so minded) before you serve.  It could sit in the freezer quite comfortably for a couple of months too - just make sure you label it properly, otherwise you might end up serving it for dinner when everyone was expecting pasta bake.  (No?  Never done that?  No ... me neither)


Does this appeal to you?  Might you give it a go?  I'd love it if you told me how you got on, so please do leave a comment or email me or tweet me a pic (@abstractLucas)!

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Maybe this might appeal ...


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