Food: Mulled cherry tarts

These cherry tarts are a quick and easy way of pleasing guests and delivering the kind of low effort, maximum impact impression we all look for around Christmas time. Whether you’re making them for family, friends or when a guest pops by.

You’ll need:

  • 1 jar of sour cherries in syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 70g of sugar (or more, depending on your sweet tooth!)
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • 1 packet of pre-made shortcrust pastry

Pour all of the ingredients (bar the pastry and vanilla) into a saucepan and simmer on a low heat, allowing the spices to mull for a good 10-15 minutes.

When this is done, fish out the spices and crank up the heat until it’s boiling. Reduce until the mixture is thick and sticky. This is the time to add the vanilla. Stir and pour into a bowl to cool, then begin rolling out the pastry on a flour dusted surface to about 5mm thick.

Use a mug to cut out circles of pastry. Gently shape the circles into a greased tart tin. They should fill the tin but not overreach that much. Experiment with the mug width that works for your tin. When the pastry is loaded, spoon in the jammy mixture until it’s just about level with the pastry. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the packet. Normally 180°c for about 20 minutes.

Perfect on their own or top couple of warm tarts with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for a festive treat!

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Food: Apple, Plum & ginger crumble

Here’s a recipe for a hearty and warming crumble with a speculoos/speculaas topping.

Makes 6 portions.

To make, you’ll need:

For the filling:

  • 8 medium apples,
  • 1 jar of sour plums,
  • Half the liquid from the plum jar,
  • 1 star anise,
  • Thumb size piece of ginger (grated),
  • 125ml of apple cider,
  • 20g of crystallised ginger,
  • 1 knob vegan butter,
  • 80g of brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon,
  • 1 tbs of golden syrup (agave/ corn syrup will work as well),

For the topping:

  • 120g of plain flour,
  • 60g of brown sugar,
  • 60g of vegan butter,
  • 60g speculoos biscuits,

 

To make the filling:

Peel, core and slice the apples then set aside. Begin by melting the butter in a pan, add the sugar and allow them to caramelise. Add the apples and stir them around until they’re coated. Then add the plums along with the juice, the apple cider, the star anise and allow to simmer on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes with the lid off.

When the mixture has reduced add the grated fresh ginger, the crystallised ginger, the zest and juice of half a lemon and the golden syrup. Stir until combined and the golden syrup has loosened and melted. Spoon into a medium sized baking tin until you’re ready with the topping.

To make the topping:

Measure out and combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl and breadcrumb by rubbing between your fingers. Smash the biscuits in a pestle and mortar (or in a plastic bag and bashed with a rolling pin) until they’re a mixture of crumb and rubble sized pieces. Combine the two and sprinkle over the mixture.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for forty minutes until the topping is rich and golden. Once out of the oven, leave it cool slightly and serve with some soy custard 😉

Enjoy!