If you’re anything like me, at the start of December you have all these great plans for all the foods you’re going to make from scratch for Christmas. But as the month passes by, you realise there’s no just no way you can do everything you planned and you resort, as usual, to the shop-bought versions instead. Mince pies are a case in point for me. Every year without fail, I promise myself I’ll make my own this year. And every year without fail, I end up buying them in.
So, if like me, you have a jar of mincemeat sat in your cupboard, don’t let it skulk there until next Christmas. Now that we’re into January and things have calmed down a bit, why not make the most of it by baking this gorgeous apple and mincemeat streusel slice? It’s just the ticket for cheering up a wet and dreary afternoon with a good strong cup of hot tea.
This recipe is loosely based on one I found in Jane Hornby’s What to Bake & How to Bake It, one of my favourite cookbooks of 2014. Hornby’s original is a cherry-almond streusel slice, but I swapped the jam for mincemeat, the fresh cherries for apples and glace cherries, and the ground almonds for desiccated coconut. And the end result was very, very delicious indeed. To make life a little easier, you could always use ready-made shortcrust pastry.
Apple and mincemeat streusel slice
Makes around 12 slices
For the sweet shortcrust pastry
200g plain flour
¼ tsp salt
50g cold lard or vegetable shortening
70g cold butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp sugar
For the cake layer
65g plain flour
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g desiccated coconut
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
410g good quality mincemeat
1 large eating apples, peeled, cored and chopped
100g glace cherries, halved
For the icing
75g icing sugar
½ tsp ground allspice
Start by making the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the lard (or shortening) and butter into cubes and add to the bowl. Rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar.
Mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water and pour this onto the mixture. Work it in using a table knife until it all comes together to form a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add another tablespoon of water.
Shape into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm but not rock hard.
Preheat oven to 180°C / gas mark 4 and put a flat baking tray in the oven to heat up.
Cut one sixth of the pastry dough from the disc and set it aside in the fridge for the topping. Roll out the rest on a lightly floured surface until slightly larger than the base of a 23cm shallow square baking tin. Keep any trimmings and chill these in the fridge too.
Push the pastry into the tin, allowing it to come a little way up the sides to create a rim of around 1cm.
To make the cake layer, beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl using a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla extract and desiccated coconut and beat it all together until well combined.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir it all together well.
Spread the mincemeat over the pastry. Then spread the cake batter on top. Sprinkle the chopped apple and glace cherries over the cake batter.
Tear up the reserved pastry into little pieces and scatter this over the top of the cake batter and fruit.
Carefully slide the tin onto the baking tray in the oven. Bake for around 40 to 45 minutes until the cake has risen and the topping is golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
To make the icing, simply sift the icing sugar and mix with a couple of teaspoons of water until you get a smooth and runny (but not too wet) icing. Mix in the ground allspice.
Once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing liberally over the top using a tablespoon.
When the icing has set, slice into 12 pieces. Keep in an airtight container for up to three days.