Thursday, December 07, 2017

What's on the MENU this week. Homemade Mince Pies

Back to Planning for Christmas, so our next recipe comes under the heading of pleasure and entertaining. Fiona Burrell Stevenson is an old friend of Lynne's; she runs the award winning Edinburgh New Town Cookery School.  She was the Principal of the Prue Leith School in London for many years.  Yes, you could buy your pastry and the mincemeat, but it is so much nicer to make your own.
Yield: 12 Servings
Image © Borgh Pottery
Homemade Mince Pies
Author: Fiona Burrell Stevenson
This mincemeat is so easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator.
You can play around with the ingredients and change the dried fruit if you like. Try chopped dried apricots, dried mangos, dried cherries etc. It stores easily in the fridge so you may prefer to make double the batch so you have some to hand when the mince pies run out, which they will - quickly! Once you have made your own mincemeat you will never want to use shop bought again. The pastry is a simple shortcrust.
If you prefer or are feeding lacto vegetarians, or cannot find lard, substitute the lard for butter but the lard does make a very short pastry. You can also add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the crumb mixture before adding the water if you would like the pastry slightly sweetened.
For the pastry
225g plain flour - pinch salt - 40g lard, chilled and cubed - 80g butter, chilled and cubed - very cold water
For the mincemeat
1/2 an eating apple - 45g sultanas - 45g raisins - 25g currants - 45g dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots - 25g flaked almonds - finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon - finely grated zest of 1/2 orange - 1 tbsp orange juice - 1 tsp mixed spice - 2 tbsp whisky - 30g melted butter - 1 small ripe banana or 1/2 large one
First make the pastry:
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl. Add the fats to the flour. Using your finger tips rub the fat into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. (Add sugar now if making sweet short crust). You can use a food processor for this but always add the water by hand. Add 2 tablespoons water into the mixture. Using a knife mix the water into the crumbs until they start to clump together. Add a little more water if necessary, remembering that too much water will make the pastry tough. Bring the dough together with one hand to form a ball of dough. Wrap in cling film and flatten to a thick disc. Chill for 20 minutes before using.
Now make the mincemeat:
Wash and grate the apple with its skin on. Put into a bowl and add the sultanas, raisins, cranberries, dried apricots, almonds, lemon zest, orange zest and juice, mixed spice, whisky and melted butter. Mash the banana and add to the mincemeat. Put into a plastic container or into glass jars and seal. It can be used immediately or it can be stored for a week before using. Keep refrigerated once opened and consume within 6 months.
To bake the mince pies, preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out two thirds of your pastry and cut into rounds with a cutter. Line a patty tin with these circles. Spoon a teaspoon full of filling into each pastry case. Then roll out the remaining pastry and cut slightly smaller circles (or stars). Top the pastry cases with these lids. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. To serve, eat warm dusted with icing sugar.
What to drink with Mince Pies? Well, in a cold northern country we might say a vintage Port or a warm Negus, but here in hot South Africa we might suggest a chilled white or pink port. Perfect for that pre- or after dinner indulgence.
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