Cumberland rum nickies
- November 2016
- Makes 16-18
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 20-25 min
Rum nickies are date, rum and ginger tarts or pies popular from the time when Cumbrian ports regularly sent ships to the Caribbean. The boozy chopped dried fruit is like mincemeat, and you could try them at Christmas as an alternative to mince pies.
Serve them with a bit of rum and ginger butter slipped under the lids while they’re still warm.
- 20.7g (11.4g saturated)
- 40.2g (24g sugars)
For the filling
- 100g raisins
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 175g pitted fresh medjool dates
- 175g stem ginger pieces
For the rum & ginger butter (optional)
- 100g semi-salted butter, softened
- 75g light muscovado sugar
- 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
- 3 tbsp dark rum
For the almond shortbread pastry
- 375g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 75g ground almonds
- 275g chilled unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 free-range medium egg yolks
- 1 free-range medium egg, beaten
- Icing sugar to dust
You’ll also need…
- 6cm & 7cm fluted pastry cutters, and 2 x 12-hole patty/jam tart tins
- For the filling, put the raisins into a small pan with the rum over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and remove from the heat. Set aside for 1 hour so the raisins can soak up all the rum. Meanwhile, cut the dates and stem ginger into small pieces and mix together in a bowl.
- If you’re making the rum and ginger butter, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the grated ginger and rum. Set aside in a cool place, but not in the fridge.
- For the pastry, put the flour and ground almonds into the bowl of a food processor, add the chilled butter cubes and whizz briefly until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. (If you don’t have a food processor, put the flour, ground almonds and butter into a large mixing bowl, then rub in the butter using your fingertips until it has a breadcrumb texture.) Tip the mixture into a bowl, then stir in the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 2 tbsp cold water, then stir into the flour mixture with a dinner knife until it comes together into a ball. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface until smooth, then cut evenly in half.
- Roll out each piece of pastry on a well floured surface to about 5mm thick. Using fluted pastry cutters, cut out as many 7cm discs as possible from one piece, then from the other, cut as many 6cm discs as you can. Re-roll the offcuts to get about 16-18 of each. Lightly grease the same number of holes in your patty tins and line with the larger discs.
- Stir the rum-soaked raisins into the chopped dates and ginger. Spoon this mixture into each pastry case. Brush the edges of the pastry lids with water and press down onto the bases, making a good seal all around the edge. (The pies can now be chilled or frozen if you wish, then baked when you need them – cook for 5 minutes longer from frozen.)
- Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. Brush the tops of the pies with a little beaten egg and make a couple of small slits in the lids. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm, with a little spoonful of the rum and ginger butter slipped under the lids, if you wish.
The pastry is very soft, so it’s important to be gentle when working it. Flour your surface well to prevent sticking.
Make the pastry and freeze for up to a month. Make the nickies up to the end of step 5 and freeze for up to a month.
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