If you want something a little different for dessert this Christmas, why not try this impossible Christmas tart. It's a quick and easy one-bowl mix that forms a delicious layer of pastry mixed with Christmas fruit mincemeat, covered with a layer of creamy custard, and topped off with a thin layer of soft cake.
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What is an impossible tart?
An impossible tart is so named because it seems impossible that one bowl of batter baked in the oven can separate into three distinct layers.
But it's true. You just mix all the ingredients in one bowl and pop it in the oven. And what you end up with is a tart with a layer of soft pastry at the bottom, followed by a layer of custard, and topped off with a thin cake-type layer.
Some people call impossible tarts magic cakes. And with the magic season (aka Christmas) fast approaching, I thought it appropriate to share my impossible Christmas tart with you. It tastes just like a Christmas pudding!
If this isn't quite what you are looking for, why not give this easy coconut tart a try? It's based on the same principle - a one-dish mixture that separates into three layers as it bakes.
A great alternative to traditional Christmas pudding
If you are anything like me, then you will always stuff yourself to bursting point at the Christmas dinner table and then not have room left for any Christmas pudding.
This impossible Christmas tart gets around that problem nicely. It's not at all stodgy and served ice cold from the refrigerator, it makes a light and refreshing alternative to the traditional heavy puddings that are served at Christmas.
The custard is soft and creamy, and the pastry layer is filled with just enough fruit mincemeat to give this tart enough of a Christmas taste without being too stodgy.
What's more, it only takes a few minutes to mix before it goes into the oven. And because it's best served ice cold, you can make it the day before and just store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
If you want to go all out you could serve it covered with custard or brandy sauce, or even top it with a scoop of icecream. To be perfectly honest though, I think it's fine just served by itself.
And of course, this impossible Christmas tart isn't just a Christmas pudding. A slice of this tart makes a great tea-time treat instead of the normal Christmas mince pies.
How to make an impossible Christmas tart
***You can print off the complete recipe for this impossible Christmas tart from the recipe card at the end of this post***
You will need a few simple ingredients:
- Flour - this should be plain all-purpose flour not self-raising flour. There's no baking powder in this recipe.
- Fruit mincemeat - I used the supermarket's own brand because this particular one doesn't have mixed peel in it (I'm not a love of mixed peel). Use your own favourite brand.
- Milk - either full-fat or semi-skinned is fine.
- Sugar - this recipe calls for less sugar than a normal cake to compensate for the sweetness of the fruit mincemeat. For this recipe, I've allowed half a cup of sugar (that's 100 grams). If you would prefer it a bit sweeter add a little extra sugar, but I wouldn't go above three-quarters of a cup in total (150 grams).
- Eggs - I used 4 medium-sized eggs
- Butter - if you use salted butter then don't add any salt to the mixture. If you have unsalted butter then you might like to add half a teaspoon of salt.
- Vanilla essence - for extra flavour - you can leave it out if you don't have any in your pantry.
If you want to turn this into a boozy version, you could swap out some of the milk as follows:
- 50 ml of milk for 50 ml of Baileys Original Cream Liqueur; or
- 1 tablespoon of milk for 1 tablespoon of brandy
What to do
Start off by mixing the flour, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl.
The next step is to melt the butter either in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
Finally stir in the fruit mincemeat. You will find that the mincemeat changes the colour of the batter slightly, but don't let this worry you. It will still taste delicious.
Grease a 10-inch round baking dish with a little melted butter.
Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
If you are worried about the tart overflowing in the oven, just place the baking dish on a baking sheet before placing it in the oven.
Bake in a medium oven (175C / 350F) for 1 hour.
Ovens can vary so keep your eye on it. You may find that your tart is cooked after 50 minutes.
Don't expect the entire tart to puff up. It will only puff around the edges.
The tart will be cooked when it feels firm to the touch and no longer 'jiggles' if you shake the dish. If your tart starts to brown too much before the centre has set properly, just cover the edges with a strip of tinfoil.
This is a close-up of the finished tart.
The top of the tart will be quite moist and sticky. This is due to the sugar in the fruit mincemeat rising to the top and forming a slightly syrupy texture on the top.
Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely before covering it with tinfoil or plastic wrap and storing it in the refrigerator.
The final photo shows the texture of the underside of the tart.
Even though there is a layer of custard in this impossible tart, the texture is quite firm. Once the tart has cooled in the refrigerator you will be able to cut it into slices and pick it up in your fingers. It will hold its shape nicely.
When you are ready to serve, dust the tart with icing sugar. Don't do this too far in advance because the top of the tart is quite moist and the icing sugar will just dissolve.
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Unfortunately, this tart is not suitable for freezing.
However, you can make it up to three days in advance and store it in the refrigerator covered in tinfoil or plastic wrap.
Save for later
If you would like to try this impossible Christmas tart for yourself, why not pin it to your Pinterest board so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
Other recipes to try
Perhaps you'd like to try some of my other festive baking ideas
- No-bake Baileys chocolate truffles
- Festive florentines
- Walnut crescent cookies (Vanillekipferl)
- Boozy black forest trifle
- Dom Pedro cocktail
- Peppermint crisp fridge tart
Impossible Christmas tart
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- ¾ cup / 105 grams plain all-purpose flour
- 4 medium eggs
- ½ cup / 100 grams caster sugar add 1 tablespoon extra if you prefer it sweeter
- 14 ounce / 410 grams fruit mincemeat that's 1 medium-sized jar
- 4 ounces / 115 grams butter melted (plus a little extra to grease the baking dish)
- 2 cups milk full-fat or semi-skimmed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence optional
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F
- Grease a 10" diameter baking dish with a little extra butter
- Mix the flour, sugar, milk, eggs, salt and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl until all the lumps have been removed.¾ cup / 105 grams plain all-purpose flour, 4 medium eggs, ½ cup / 100 grams caster sugar, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, ½ teaspoon salt
- Melt the butter (either in the microwave or on the stove) and allow it to cool slightly.4 ounces / 115 grams butter
- Mix the melted butter into the flour mixture until well combined
- Stir in the fruit mincemeat14 ounce / 410 grams fruit mincemeat
- Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish and place it in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 1 hour until the mixture no longer jiggles when you shake the dish. Keep your eye on it and cover the edges of the tart with a strip of tinfoil if it starts to brown too much.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then cover the tart with tinfoil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cold, dusted with icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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