Fabulous Food: Mince Pies & More…

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So it’s Christmas Day on Friday and i’m sure food shopping is on many peoples minds. That coupled with the fact that most children have now finished at School, it’s probably a bit of a chaotic time. If you are wondering what to do with the kids today on this miserably wet Monday and start some of your Christmas food prep, why not get your bake on and make some yummy festive treats?

Mince Pies are a staple part of the Christmas diet and next to a Turkey dinner and Christmas Pud, they are the epitome of the festive season with hundreds upon hundreds consumed during December. It just so happens that they are pretty easy to whip up at home and we think that they taste better than shop bought pies because they are homemade! A great way to occupy the super excited kids, these perfect pies will last at least a week (if you are lucky!) and are great with a bit of clotted cream!

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It was a first attempt ourselves at making Mice Pies and we must confess we did take a bit of a shortcut with our Mincemeat, however there is no shop bought pastry in sight, a fair compromise we thought plus it makes this an inexpensive bake.

We followed a recipe by the one and only Paul Hollywood via the BBC Good Food website which we found simple and easy to follow with a yield of approximately 16 mince pies…

Ingredients:

We used Tesco Mincemeat which was around the 89p mark
Tesco Plain Flour which is 40p for 500g
Clover at £1.50 for a 500g tub (great for baking and gives a lovely buttery taste)
2 x Tesco Large Eggs, approx £1.50 for six
Caster Sugar at 99p for 500g, so good for a couple of bakes.

Additional equipment included a large mixing bowl, scales, teaspoon, fork, pastry brush, small jug, fairy cake or muffin tray, icing sugar for dusting, rolling pin, round pastry cutters at 7cm and 10cm and clingfilm.

On with the baking: Firstly set the oven at gas mark 7 (220C/200C fan) and use your preferred release agent on a cake or muffin tray (we used extra Clover). Next add 375g plain flour and 260g clover into a large mixing bowl, rubbing together to a breadcrumb consistency. Next add 125g caster sugar and 1 large egg, mixing together to bind all ingredients.

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Once combined, tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and fold until the pastry becomes smooth, being careful not to over mix. Wrap the mixture in cling film and chill in the fridge for ten minutes whilst you have a cuppa and take a breather.

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After chilling the pastry, roll out on a lightly dusted surface to 3mm thick. Using the larger 10cm pastry or cookie cutter, cut out 16 bases and place them into the fairy cake or muffin tray. Next spoon 1 1/2 tsp (or as much as you see fit) of Mincemeat mixture into each base, lightly beat an egg and use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to coat the edge of each base.

Re-roll the pastry and cut 7cm lids, placing them on top of the bases and sealing before adding a glaze and a sprinkle of caster sugar. Please note: Ensure that a small cut is made in the top of each mince pie to allow the steam to escape whilst baking.

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As we have family members who do not like mince pies (unbelievable we know!), we decided to add a twist to suit all tastes and sneak in some Nutella instead! Following the same method before popping into bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool before serving, dusting with icing sugar is optional.

And there you have it, yummy mince pies in less than an hour!

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We achieved a yield of 18 pies, plus with a small amount of pasty left we had enough to add some jam to four bases for some quick jam tarts which also went down a treat, waste not want not as they say! Store any left over Mince pies in an airtight container for up to a week.

We hope that you find this quick guide helpful and can bake up some wonderful Christmas treats!

Happy Baking!

All images copyright The Bird & The Rose

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