Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas is... a mince pie...

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!


  1. Your house looks wonderful! I agree, it was made for the festive season. I made fruit mince pies for the first time last year and they were great. Yum!

  2. Lucky you having some M&S mincemeat. I have had to make my own the last couple of years as the first time I asked a lady in the supermarket if they had any she thought I was crazy!! I have since found the occasional jar of Robinson one, but it's not a patch on M&S. Your house certainly looks lovely and festive. x

  3. Hi there Laura, so glad you linked up to my xmas tree party. Thank you! Very happy to have discovered your pretty blog, and a fellow blogger who NEEDS mince pies!
    Off to a hilarious anglo-french carol servce this evening (that the French do no get!) so will definitely feels chrismassy.
    My French Country Home

  4. I don't know if we can buy mincemeat here but I would love to try making a pie. Thank you for the recipe. It looks delicious. And your tree looks festive and pretty!

    Happy Holidays, Laura!


  5. Beautiful blog. If you lived in The Netherlands you would know what "small home" really is.

  6. I think your kitchen just looks ultra cozy! I've always thought a table up against the wall looks pretty and farm-house-ish.

  7. Thanks, Sweetie! Just what I needed to read this morning. Will try them this weekend. J x

  8. Laura your house looks lovely so christmassy! The bunting in the kitchen just sets the scene!! Mince pies I love them - when we lived in france I once made them for our neighbours and although very unsure about them I managed to convert them all - could have been the alchol in them!! (french brandy of course) Keep warm it is very very cold here.
    hugs Jillxx

  9. Ooh, such a great Christmasy post :) I have noticed lots of puddings, pies, and liquor sauces at the store. I guess the liquor sauces are for the mince pies? Why called mincemeat if there is no meat?

    Thoroughly culinarily confused in England,
    XO L

  10. Laura, you always
    make me smile. I
    bet I would love your
    mincemeat pie. I
    have only experienced
    the American version
    and I don't have
    particularly fond memories.
    Probably the wrong type
    of mincemeat was used.
    Oh to be able to pop
    over to M&S and get the
    good stuff! I'd really
    love to see London at
    this time of the year : )
    Love how you are channeling
    your inner 50's house frau!
    I have days where that feels
    so right.
    Merry Thursday!
    xx Suzanne


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