There's a chill in the air, but home sure looks cozy... the twinkle of the white lights on the Christmas tree...
... the rich colours of red, gold, and green dotted around this tiny place... Our home was made for this season... I think I've mentioned before that red features heavily in this place, and so, during this festive season, it really comes into it's own...
The radio is continuously set on the Madeleine Peyroux station and I'm feeling all 50's-housewife... I even donned my frilly pinny (apron)... the girls are playing nicely in the living room (okay, I'm starting to weave a little yarn here... they're actually watching Phineas and Ferb)... and what would complete this perfect Christmas image?
Yes, the smell of freshly baked mince pies... Now, the hubby thinks they're a hideous creation, but, for an English gal like me, they are Christmas on a plate. It's all down to the mincemeat, though... in particular, the alcohol used to give it that special je ne sais quoi... luckily for me, my mum left me with a jar of Marks and Spencers mincemeat, laden with liquor (I'm not quite up to making my own mincemeat... but maybe next year)... And so, to further propel me into this festive season, I set about making this boozy, fruity pie... and it was just the ticket... Christmas is in every corner of this house... including my tummy ;-) I popped the recipe on the bottom, just in case you wanted to give this festive treat a try... I recommend serving them warm with a dollop of fresh cream.. you can even try pepping up the cream by adding some freshly grated orange zest and a sprinkle of sugar (vanilla sugar, if you have it)... if it's later in the day, you can always wash it down with a tot of something strong... to warm your cockles...
Take care all!
Easy Peasy Mince Pies
2 cups of plain flour
2/3 cup of icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 stick of cold butter (cut into small cubes)
3 tablespoons iced water (approx)
Icing sugar to dust
1 jar of quality mincemeat
Preheat the oven to 350F (180c). Brush a shallow muffin tin with melted butter.
Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl, add the butter, and rub in with your fingertips until fine and crumbly (my mum always taught me to have cold hands when handling pastry, so I always run them under the cold tap to cool them off before starting this step).
Add almost all the water and mix with a round ended knife, until the mixture comes together. Try not to add too much water, otherwise your end up with a hard pastry.
Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Roll out two thirds of the pastry and cut rounds with a pastry cutter. Fit the rounds into the tins.
Put a good sized heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case.
Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out slightly smaller rounds and place on top of the mincemeat. Press the edges to seal.
Brush with either a spot of milk or egg (egg will give more of a glaze).
Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until golden.
Remove from the oven, but leave in the tins for 5 minutes... The mincemeat is super hot, so you don't want to burn your pinkies!
After 5 minutes, lift them out with a knife and cool on wire racks.
Dust slightly with icing sugar... just like a little snow flurry has been going off in the kitchen!