Chocolate and Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

In my mind it’s definitely worth starting to think about our festive menus roundabout now, especially if you are going to be inundated with work commitments, parties to attend and then slotting in dates with friends and family. November and December are most people’s very busy months and there is nothing wrong with getting ahead. Of course it helps that I’ve started listening to my Christmas playlist again on Spotify this week so I’m already well involved with the season. At Sainsburys earlier in the week I also couldn’t help but start throwing into my trolley the odd packet of Carr’s Table Biscuits (they always sell out in December) and then the Cheese Footballs that my mum loves to snack on Christmas Day. I remember this is the sort of behaviour that I used to admonish my grandmother for doing; buying birthday cards six months early and making sure she had all her Chrismas Day trifle ingredients by Halloween. Now, I’ve found myself following in her tradition. It’s a dangerous road though, as I’ve already eaten the Cheese Footballs, so they are going to have to go back on the shopping list for a start.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

I’ll never regret planning my menus early though and these tarts will definitely feature somewhere in the mix. I have wanted to do something with chocolate and five-spice for a while. Would it be ice cream? Would it be truffles? Or even cookies? I couldn’t quite decide and then I made some gingerbread biscuits last week for my cake stall and produced far more dough than I needed. It sat in the fridge for a couple of days as I couldn’t quite be bothered to make anymore biscuits.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Suddenly out of nowhere I decided to mould the dough into tart shells, and blind bake them. Before I knew it I was concocting some chocolate ganache infused with five-spice and pouring it into my tart shells. The five-spice powder complements the ginger in the tart shell so perfectly. It’s a lovely warming chocolate tart, perfect for this time of year and since the chocolate filling is a no-bake recipe then it really is so simple to put together.

I was thinking how lovely this would be to serve as a dessert with a dollop of crème fraiche over the festive season and like any good dessert it can happily be made a day or so in advance with minimal effort which means you can focus your last minute panicking for events happening out of the kitchen.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Chocolate Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Makes 8

350g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoon treacle
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease 8 x 8cm round tart tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mix with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the sugar and mix well.
  5. Warm the golden syrup and treacle slightly in a saucepan to make it runny and easier to use then pour into the rest of the ingredients with the eggs.
  6. Bring the dough together with your hands until it is a nice smooth ball.
  7. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
  8. Roll the dough out to 2-3mm thickness and line the dough into your tart tins. Fill the tart shells with baking beans then place in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking beans and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Then remove from the oven leave for 15 minutes before removing from the tins and leaving to cool.
  10. For the filling heat the whipping cream with the muscovado sugar and five-spice powder until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate.
  11. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir together until all the chocolate has melted and formed a thick ganache with the cream.
  12. Spoon the ganache into the tart shells and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours until the chocolate ganache has set.
  13. Decorate with gold leaf and bring up to room temperature to serve.

Victorian Mincemeat

The Victorians knew what they were doing when they added real beef to their mincemeat. For the best mince pies this Christmas try this Victorian Mincemeat and accept no substitute.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas

Mincemeat with Real Meat

Ever since investigating (otherwise known as making and eating a lot of mince pies) the best recipe for making mincemeat and discovering that the Victorians used real meat I have never looked back. For some reason we balk when we hear about mince pies with actual meat in it but I have no idea why. We eat sweet chutneys with ham all the time. In the words of Joey, what’s not to like? Pastry good. Brandied fruits good. Beef gooood. And as it turns out, together, really good.

There are two very fine ladies I turned to in developing this recipe, Delia Smith and Mrs Beeton, two Great British institutions. It wouldn’t be Christmas without either in this house. I took advice from both of them regarding mincemeat and ran with it, adding a few twists and turns along the way.

Which Meat to Use in Mince Pies

This mincemeat recipe uses fresh minced or ground beef. I recommend you choose the highest quality you can find either direct from the farmer or butcher so there is plenty of fat which will give the mincemeat a luxurious quality once cooked. Plus I always advocate buying the best meat you can source for any recipe.

What Does Real Meat Mincemeat Taste Like?

Victorian Mincemeat is so delicious as it eschews an abundance of sweetness. Instead the beef mince adds a wonderful soft texture which is molten in with the rest of the ingredients. Victorian Mincemeat is the ultimate choice for your traditional mince pie, rich, fruity, boozy and you would never know there was meat in it unless told. Which you must do as your vegetarian friends get annoyed. All you think is you are eating the best mince pie in town.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas

How Long Can You Store Victorian Mincemeat

The reality is that mincemeat keeps extremely well as long as you put the mincemeat straightaway into sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place. The sugars and alcohol preserve all the ingredients, including the beef, excellently. However, this recipe contains raw meat so you may want to be more careful and use within at least six weeks of preparation.

Please note as well that since this recipe contains raw meat you will need to cook the mincemeat, such as within a mince pie, before eating. For a recipe on how to make Gluten-Free Mince Pies using your Victorian Mincemeat see my recipe here.

More Mincemeat Recipes

  • If you are vegan or veggie and the idea of putting real beef in your mincemeat is a total non-starter then do try Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat instead which is fresh fruity and delicious.
  • Or for a more modern mincemeat recipe which skips out the real meat but does contain beef suet try this Easy Mincemeat Recipe.

If you make this Victorian Mincemeat then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Victorian Mincemeat

For the best mince pies this Christmas try this Victorian Mincemeat and accept no substitute.
Prep Time40 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4 380g jars
Calories: 1524kcal


  • 1 bramley apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cox apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 200 g beef suet get your suet from the butcher if you need it gluten-free*
  • 200 g raw beef mince
  • 275 g raisins
  • 225 g currants
  • 100 g natural glace cherries diced
  • 100 g pitted prunes diced
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • grated zest and juice of ½ red grapefruit
  • grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 50 g whole almonds slivered
  • 4 teaspoons mixed ground spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100 ml brandy


  • Stir everything together in a large mixing bowl and decant into sterilised jars.
  • Wait about two weeks before using so the ingredients get a chance to settle with each other.


Do persevere with different butchers if you are finding fresh suet hard to get hold of. All of my butchers in the high street couldn't get hold of suet for me and in the end I had success with going direct to the farm. To prepare the suet I grated it in the food processor using the grater attachment with scant amounts of rice flour to allow the suet to separate nicely. Sinewy bits will get entangled in the blades, just stop the processor, throw these bits away and carry on going. I store my suet in 200g bags in the freezer for easy use.
Since the mincemeat contains raw beef mince the mincemeat should be cooked into a mince pie before eating.
This recipe contains raw meat which is preserved by the sugar and alcohol. As such I recommend that you use within 6 weeks of making. However, as a Brit who has been led by her grandmother's example I am happy to eat this mincemeat well into the next year as long as the jars have been sterilised correctly and the mincemeat has been stored in a cool dark place.


Calories: 1524kcal | Carbohydrates: 220g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 84mg | Potassium: 1685mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 141g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 202mg | Iron: 6.4mg

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