Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

I'm pacing my baking, to stop us all ballooning up over the holiday period. I don't think I'll need a cake until Boxing Day, as there will be leftover desserts from Christmas Lunch, as well as the inevitable presents of biscuits and chocolates. I don't mind leaving some of the cooking until Boxing Day, as coping with The Lunch will take enough of my time and energy.

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.

Cut out an equal number of bases and lids to fit your mincepie tray, or use seasonal cutters to make pastry shapes for the top, instead of full circles. Fill the base with a good teaspoon of mincemeat and fix on the lids by brushing the undersides with water and pressing together where the lid meets the base. Brush the tops with water and sprinkle over some granulated sugar. Bake at 200C until golden, about 15-20 minutes. Cool the pies in the tins for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving, if desired.

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!


Kavey said...

Merry Christmas, Sue! x x

MissCakeBaker said...

They look lovely! Happy Christmas!

Scotkat said...

Merry Christmas enjoy

Jude said...

They look lovely. Merry Christmas Sue.

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

oh god don't!!!... I just baked about 30 mince pies and we've already eaten about 10 of them... oh well! Merry Christmas honey xxx

Foodycat said...

They look delicious - and I haven't had a single mince pie this year! Merry Christmas to you & Ron.

C said...

Merry Christmas, I hope it's a good one!

Chele said...

Merry Christmas. Lovely looking (and sounding) mince pies. All the very best for 2012.