December 13 – arrowroot(s)

Fruit mince pies done 1
Get the recipe for pastry

I am back to solo-ing today as nephew James is busy conquering the entire known universe in our favourite city building game, so I decided to share one of the great discoveries of the Advent-ure 2012.

When I put ‘arrowroots’ in the ingredient pool back then, I was thinking of arrowroot biscuits – which our Mum could dress up with a bit of icing and sprinkles fit for any and every occasion. “Funny faces” were a popular choice (not least because they had ‘Smarties’ chocolates for eyes), and she really could give the humble arrowroot bikkie some serious charm as a luxury.

When they popped out of the ingredients lucky dip in 2012, however, we had already made Santa faces, so the big question was ‘what else can we do with arrowroot??’

It is not an ingredient that we use for much now, so I set myself a quest to find out something new – starting with what it is actually made of (ground tapioca!).

The answer was – gluten free pastry.  This turned out to be pretty much the easiest and tastiest pastry case I have made ever – although I think it is still a two spoon rating because you’ll need a bit of confidence to get it rolled and into the trays without playing with it too long.  The longer you take to do that, the warmer it will become, and the warmer it is the harder it is to handle, so you could get into a nasty circle there.  My suggestion would be that if you are ok making biscuits with biscuit cutters, you are probably up for this one.  Otherwise, stay tuned for the Shrewsbury biscuit recipe and practice on that first.

Of course, while there is no gluten, these are definitely a treat item with the amount of butter and cheese – before they even have a filling.  On that score, today I am cracking out the fruit mince from last week, that has been quietly doing its thing and developing a style of its own – in fact, it seems almost sentient by now!

PS April 2018: When it is not the season for fruit mince (although I’d argue any time is a good time for that style I made last Christmas) – crack out some pie fruit, fruit compote, or fruit jam and make these for any old time you fancy a sweet treat.