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Effervescent storyteller.

Welcome to My Modern Diary, an electronic journal filled with tales of nostalgic cuisine, wistful wanderings & personal recollections by Sarah Orman.

Mince pies

Mince pies

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Traditional in the United Kingdom at Christmas, the mince pie is one of my all time favorite holiday treats.

Growing-up, a batch of mince pies rarely lasted longer than two days in our home, the same excuse reverberating around the kitchen as we all repeatedly snatched another one from the tin; "they're best eaten fresh!"

Image courtesy of Jodi Miller Photography

Today not much has changed. There is usually an opening statement from my mom, something to the effect of "I don't know what the pastry will be like" followed by my dad's approving nod and a indecipherable mumble through a mouthful of pie. It's a ritual and I love it.

I started making my own mincemeat several years ago; the standard jar of store-bought mincemeat was neither appetizing or appealing to me. Passionate about creating everything from scratch and content with taking the extra time to do so, I was compelled to give it a try.

The recipe I share today is one that has been tweaked and changed over the years. Every Christmas I read another variation, evaluating my own tried and tested version by adding a little something new here and there : )

This Christmas I used fresh suet for the very first time; it's a little harder to get your hands on dried suet in the United States. I really loved the results therefore I have included it in this recipe.

Enjoy, and don't forget to leave a mince pie or two for Santa Claus!

Mince pies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Sarah Orman
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • [b]For the pastry;[/b]
  • 9 oz {250g} all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 oz {25g} confectioners sugar
  • 4.5 oz {125g} chilled, unsalted butter, diced into cubes
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 large egg {plus an egg and a little milk for an eggwash}
  • 1-3 tsp. iced cold water {if needed}
  • [br]
  • [b]For the mincemeat;[/b]
  • 8 oz {225g} dark raisins
  • 4 oz {113g} dried cranberries
  • 4 oz {113g} diced dried apricot
  • 4 oz {113g} golden raisins/sultanas
  • 1 large green apple, grated
  • 2 oz {56g} flaked/sliced almonds
  • 6 oz {175g} soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. all spice
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 4 oz {113g} suet
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • 50ml brandy
Instructions
Pastry
[br]
  1. Put the flour, confectioners sugar, orange zest and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
[br]
  1. Crack the egg into a small bowl and beat lightly. With the food processor motor running, add the beaten egg and whiz for a few seconds until the mixtures begins to form clumps and you can press it together in a ball. It may be necessary to add one or two teaspoons of ice cold water to bring the dough together.
[br]
  1. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and bring together into a ball, [i]do not[/i] knead or overwork the dough, this is the secret to crisp, melt-in-the-mouth pastry!
[br]
  1. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
[br]
  1. [url href="http://www.mymoderndiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pastry-1024x406.jpg"][img src="http://www.mymoderndiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pastry-1024x406.jpg" width="1024" height="406" class="aligncenter size-large"][/url]
[br]
Mincemeat
[br]
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the brandy in a large saucepan.
[br]
  1. Cook over a medium heat until the suet has completely melted and the mixture is warmed through.
[br]
  1. Remove from the heat, stir in the brandy and allow to cool.
[br]
Assembly
[br]
  1. Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface. It should be approximately 5mm thick.
[br]
  1. Using a pastry cutter or a knife {depending on the size and shape of your mince pie trays and/or tins} cut out the pastry and line the moulds.
[br]
  1. Place a dessert spoonful {approximately 2 tsp.} of the mincemeat inside each mould. Top with more rolled pastry to make a mini pie or a festive star shape. If making a mini pie, use egg wash to seal the pie top and bottom.
[br]
  1. [url href="http://www.mymoderndiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pastry2-1024x402.jpg"][img src="http://www.mymoderndiary.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Pastry2-1024x402.jpg" width="1024" height="402" class="aligncenter size-large"][/url]
[br]
  1. Once the moulds have been filled, chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat-up also.
[br]
  1. Remove the chilled mince pies from the fridge, gently prick a small hole in the top of the mini pies {[i]not [/i]the festive star shaped ones} then brush [i]all[/i] all the pies with egg wash.
[br]
  1. Place the pies on the preheated baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp.
[br]
  1. Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before removing the pies from the moulds and placing on a wire rack to cool.
[br]
  1. Serve warm dusted with confectioners sugar.

 

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