with coconut crumble topping.
It started with the idea that a crumble topping would speed up the process of making a large quantity of mince pies - half the rolling out, less fiddle with putting tops and bottoms together etc. Then I thought about the fact that I usually add extra apples, oranges or cranberries to bought mincemeat to make it less sweet and a more personal recipe. Adding chopped nuts to the crumble topping would add an interesting texture too. While I was playing around with ideas, I remembered the fresh pineapple which needed eating - why not try a tropical variation of a mince pie, with pineapple in the mincemeat and coconut in the topping?
I decided to try out the concept in one big tart, rather than fiddle about with individual pies - mainly for speed of getting things done. The base was basic shortcrust pastry with no sweetening, used to line a shallow 22cm diameter flan tin. The filling was 250g mincemeat, 150g of finely chopped fresh pineapple and a teaspoon of ground rice (to absorb any excess fruit juice), spread straight onto the raw pastry. The topping was a crumble mix made by rubbing 50g coconut oil into a mix of 50g plain flour, 50g porridge oats and 35g caster sugar. I intended to add desiccated coconut to the topping, but only had flaked coconut available, so tried to break the flakes up a little as I added 25g to the crumble mix. This was sprinkled evenly over the tart filling.
Although I liked the coconut in the crumble topping, I didn't think the pineapple added enough flavour to be worth using - it was overwhelmed by the spices in the mincemeat. I could just have easily have added a chopped apple for the same result, which was to give the mincemeat a fresher, more tart flavour, but not a noticeably pineapple one. So, I'll be sticking to more traditional ingredients when it's time for Christmas baking, but I will be using a crumble topping in some form this year.
I've just noticed that this is my 500th blog post - I suppose that's a good enough time as any to be a little experimental!