Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The 7th bite of Christmas to nibble round the tree is... a double dozen of magnificent mini mince pies #12BitesOfChristmas

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The 7th bite of Christmas is great with a cup of tea…

 And technically, you only need two ingredients...

·        pastry
(The one I’ve used is the well-behaved sweet crust pastry from the Bakewell Tart recipe in Alchemy: Simple Ingredients… Magical Food. It is a buttery, crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth pastry I tend to use for all sweet tarts and pies – if you are following the recipe, I’ve substituted vanilla extract for the almond extract mentioned - but you can always use a commercial pastry if buttery, crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth is not your thing.

·        mincemeat
I’ve used the mincemeat recipe I put on the blog a few weeks ago (on this occasion I left out the almonds and increased the walnuts according, and I left out the cranberries and doubled the amount of mixed peel for a satisfyingly orangey note.) The actual work involved in making the mincemeat is minimal, however you will need a little time to let it cook gently – preferably make it the day before at the very least to give the flavours time to meld. Or you can buy it.

You will also need mini muffin tins – I have two x 12 hole tins  - this recipe makes 24; a 6cm round cutter; and a cutter just big enough to cut out circles to make the lids– or shaped cutters like I’ve used

 For 24 magnificent mini mince pies, you will need...
...to preheat the oven to 180°C when ready to bake

470g short crust pastry (see introduction above)
250g mincemeat (homemade or commercial)

a little milk to stick down the lids and glaze (optional)
a little icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Roll out the pastry to a thickness of about 3mm – the thickness of a euro or a pound coin. Using the 6cm round cutter, stamp out 24 rounds of pastry and use to line the mini muffin tins.

Re-roll the scraps if needed...
Stamp out 24 lids using a smaller round cutter and or shaped cutters just big enough to reach right to the edges of the muffin tin holes – stars are very Christmassy. You may need to gather up the scraps of pastry and reform into a smooth ball before re-rolling and cutting out the rest of the tops. No biggie.

Divide the mincemeat between the pastry cups – they will take a small teaspoon of the filling – don’t be overgenerous or the filling will burst out of the pies during cooking.

Don't be overgenerous with the filling or it will burst out of its pastry shell...
Cover the filled cups with a pastry lid moistened with a little water – or milk if using. (Lightly brushing the lids with milk will help to brown them). Chill for about 30 minutes then bake in a pre-heated oven for between 12 and 15 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
Remove from the tins and leave to cool on cooling tray. Dust with icing sugar.

Mince Pies ... Hygge Heaven!!!
They are delicious at room temperature or gently heated and served with vanilla ice cream, or a little brandy cream or brandy butter.

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