Saturday, 12 December 2009

My Mom's Mincemeat Tart Oat Squares

This recipe is one of my Mom’s, from the recipe box she left me. The box is such a treasure to me as it contains so many memories of my Mom and the things we used to cook together. I have to admit to playing with the recipe a bit over the years to make it my own, but the original idea is my Mom’s. These squares are great for this time of year as not only are they seasonal, but the oats in them almost allow you to convince yourself they are good for you!  It’s the perfect recipe for a Saturday afternoon, when hopefully you have not only the time, but also the inclination, to bake something delicious. Having said that it is so quick and easy you could even put it together after a frantic day of shopping.   These delicious squares can be cut in small squares for dessert buffets, or larger ones if you want to serve it as a dessert at a sit down dinner.  (In which case a scoop of good vanilla ice cream or a nice dollop of whipped cream is a lovely accompaniment!) Be sure to use proper oatmeal, not the instant kind.
 
¾ cup rolled oats (not instant)
¾ cup all purpose (plain) flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup butter, (cold, cut in small cubes)
1 – ¼ cups mincemeat (store bought is fine, but choose a good brand)
2 tablespoon rum, brandy, Cointreau or Grand Mariner
(Cointreau or Grand Mariner give the recipe a gorgeous citrus hit)
 
Grease and flour an eight inch square pan.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF or about 150º - 170ºC.  Put the mincemeat in a small bowl and stir in the liquor.
 
In a medium size bowl or in the food processor, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Add the butter and either process or cut in until the mixture is crumbly.  Firmly press half this mixture into the square pan.  Pop the pan in the freezer for about fifteen minutes.  Put the remaining of the oat mixture in the fridge for the same amount of time.
 
Remove the square pan from the freezer and the remaining oat mixture from the fridge. Carefully spread the boozy mincemeat over the top of the oat mixture in the square pan.    Gently sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top.  Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.   (Ovens vary so wildly it is hard to say so please do keep an eye on the pan.)  When the squares are cooked they will be lightly golden brown on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  (Seriously, do not cut into these when they are warm as they will just crumble everywhere.)
 
When they are totally cool you can slice in either small squares to eat with your fingers as a snack or on a buffet, or in larger ones to serve with whipped cream or ice cream as a dessert.  If you have any left over, they will keep in a sealed container for a few days. You can store them in the fridge, but bring them to room temperature before eating.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do in our house!