Friday, 26 September 2008

Christmas comes early

I am totally and utterly over this years Christmas already, having just spent the last few months working on Christmas shoots, recipes and features. It all started out so well as I excitedly dug the decorations out of the attic and hummed festive tunes in June. But oh boy am I hoping that todays seasonal treats are the last ones I cook until at least Christmas!

I'm not sure that our fridge, never mind our waists, can take any more turkeys, stuffings, cranberry sauce or mulled drinks. Oh well, just one last sneaky freshly baked mince pie then...Here is the yummy recipe I cooked today for a shoot for Neven Maguire...mince pies are not just for Christmas!



(Note to Bernie - I know you were looking for a recipe to make this with the kids in school - hopefully it's not too late as this is a nice one)

Makes 1.6Kg

350 g / 12 oz eating apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
225 g / 8 oz raisins
225 g / 8 oz sultanas
225 g / 8 oz currants
100 g / 4 oz candid citrus peel
225 g / 8 oz butter, melted
100 g / 4 oz blanched almonds, chopped
175 g / 6 oz dark brown sugar
Grated rind 1 orange
Grated rind 1 lemon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons brandy or whiskey

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, cover and leave overnight. Mix well before use.

Tip Why not put the mincemeat in sterilised jars, top with some pretty fabric and wrap with a red ribbon to give to your friends for a Christmas gift?The mincemeat can be stored in a a fridge for about 3-4 weeks.

Makes 12

125 g / 5 oz butter + extra for greasing
225 g / 8 oz plain flour
50 g / 2 oz icing sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
½ teaspoon lemon juice
300g of homemade mincemeat

1 egg, beaten
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4. Sieve flour and icing sugar into bowl. Add butter cut into 5 small pieces. Add egg yolk, water and lemon juice. Beat with electric mixer at slow speed until mixture forms dough.

Place pastry in greaseproof paper or a plastic bag in refrigerator, for at least 30 minutes before use. Roll out 2/3 of pastry thinly on a lightly floured board. Cut out rounds with a cutter a little larger than the holes of a 12 hole patty tin. Grease the tin and line with rounds of pastry. Put 1 tbsp mincemeat in each.

Roll out the remainder of pastry and cut with a slightly smaller cutter to fit the tops. Brush the edges of the mince pies with water and place smaller rounds on top, seal with tips of fingers. Make a small slit in each mince pie. Brush with beaten egg. Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C / Gas 6, for 15-20 minutes. Cool in tins before lifting out the mince pies. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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