Monday, 14 December 2009

Mince Pies


I've already given my  mincemeat recipe, and my favourite sweet shortcrust pastry recipe, so I'm not suggesting that you Dear Reader need any extra prattling on from me to just marry the two together to make the mince pies. Not at all. But I just thought I would give a recipe for a really luxurious sweet pastry that you could use, since let's face it, mince pies are a bit of a fiddle faddle, and you might as well gild the lily a bit if you're going to the trouble of making them. Mind you, from what I've encountered so far this year in the way of packet mince pies, you'd be better off donating them to the local cricket club for bowling practice than considering eating them. That's probably a bit unfair of me - you can get some quite nice mince pies if you shop around, but if you heard Delia on Woman's Hour on radio 4 in the week, she reckoned that home made mince pies cost about 9p each and decent bought ones anything from 30p to over a £1 each! And they still won't be as nice or as free from "stuff" as yours.

Luxury Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
8oz/250g flour
2oz/50g ground almonds
6oz/150g butter
2ox/50g caster or icing sugar
grated rind of 1 large or 2 small oranges
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk

Put everything except the egg into the food processor and whizz to breadcrumb stage. At this stage I normally tip the mix out into a large bowl and add the egg by hand. This is because I have a Magimix processor that clumps the bottom layer into a, well a clump really, at the bottom of the bowl. If you have a processor with sloping sides it probably won't do that, but the point is you need to handle the dough as little as possible, and you certainly don't want to beat it to death with a Magimix blade. Anyway, beat the whole egg and yolk together and mix in quickly to form a smooth dough. This is a very rich dough and it's a good idea to rest it in the fridge for half an hour or so to firm up if you can.



Roll out and use to line bun tins in usual way, and fill with your lovely home made mincemeat. Should make a dozen and a half or more if you don't make them too big.


You'll notice from here that my mince pies are cooked in little bun cases. This is because my bun tin is a very ancient tinny thing, and I find the cases ensure that I can get the MPs out of the tin in quick order and onto the cooling rack so the tin's ready for the next lot (there's always a next lot), without having to hang about waiting for cooling down. Also any leaked mincemeat doesn't get so easily welded onto the tray. I might treat myself to a nice non stick one for next year.

In the interests of research my daughter Sarah is trying a frangipane topping on her mince pies, (she has a bit of an almond thing going on at the moment) and hopefully she will post a report on how she gets on with that and  the supply of mincemeat she took home with her this weekend, as it does sound rather delicious. And Claire down in Cornwall seems to be making MPs for the whole county, our little grandson can't be eating them all can he?

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