We do need mincepies though, and these turned out quite well. The sweet shortcrust pastry, which I make with SR flour to increase the crumbliness, is flavoured with orange zest, and the bought mincemeat contained 7% dark chocolate. Another reason for using SR flour at this time of year is that it keeps the pastry soft, so the mincepies last for several days in good condition. Saves baking every day!
The pastry is made by rubbing 125g of lard and 125g unsalted butter into 450g SR flour, 50g icing sugar, a pinch of salt and the zest of a medium orange. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add 1 egg and enough cold water to give a soft but not sticky dough. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 20 minutes before cutting into quarters and rolling out thinly on a floured board. I find that it's best to deal with the pastry in smaller amounts, then incorporate the trimmings into the next piece of pastry. That way there is always some fresh pastry in each pie, and you don't end up with the last few circles being from pastry that has been re-rolled several times.
Although delicious, the chocolate mincemeat was quite sweet, and not very spicy; we all decided that we preferred the Cranberry and Port Mincemeat that I used in the Bramley and Mincemeat Pasties last weekend.
I'd like to wish all my internet friends a
very Merry Christmas
and everything they wish for
in the New Year!