Great British Life Tart – Fruitcake frangipane tart with gingerbread crust

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I developed this recipe based on my (taste)sensational experiences I have gained since arriving to live in the United Kingdom six years ago. Gradually getting to know all cultural aspects of my well-beloved English history and literature, I think this combination of flavours and methods mixes some essential elements of British cuisine: fruitcake, tart, gingerbread and the traditions behind it all. In my opinion today’s England is extremely accommodating and the Fruitcake frangipane tart with gingerbread crust is my thank you gesture, hence my choice of calling it Great British Life Tart. Working with young children I love making sweet surprises for them and teach them the country’s slowly fading, once iron-strong skill of simple home-baking.

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Ingredients:
125g g cold salted butter, diced
1 tsp baking soda
350g g plain flour

For the hot mix:
3 tbsp cold water
100g brown sugar
2 tbsp treacle
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves

Fruitcake frangipane filling:
250g ground almonds
50 g marzipan
250g golden caster sugar
200g butter
4 eggs, beaten
1 lemon and 1 orange finely grated zest and juice
150 g mixed fruit
50 g mixed peel
50g flaked almonds
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
Drop of brandy and a little treacle
Orange extract, few drops of almond flavouring
4-5 tbsp flour
Glace cherries

Preparation

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Soak fruit in hot tea and rum.

Place the hot mix ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Cook over medium high heat (stirring semi-constantly with a spatula) until it starts to boil. Remove saucepan from the heat. Add in the cold cubed butter, and stir it into the hot mix until all the butter is melted. Cool it slightly. Add the baking soda, and stir/whisk until it is well combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer, and leave to cool slightly. In the meantime, measure out your flour and sieve it. Slowly add in the flour to the liquid mix (I added 1/4 cup flour each time), until all the flour is used up. You are aiming for sticky wet dough. Form a round, wrap in clingfilm, and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Once the dough is well chilled, roll it out into a 5mm thick rectangle. Line tart tins. Chill the cut out cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Make the frangipane filling. Cream the butter, marzipan and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then fold in the ground almonds and flour together with the spices. Finally fold in the fruit (after sieving it). Mix well and chill until needed.

When the tarts are chilled, fill them with the filling and push a glace cherry in the middle, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake the tarts in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes (cooking times vary depending on size), until the cookies are just firm to touch. Lift them out of the tin, and cool on a wire rack. Once the tarts are cooled, start decorating them.

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