Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Cooking: Mince Pies - 2 Ways

Meow, so this is going to be my last Christmas Cooking blog posts for the year. I shall do this next year.. Read to the bottom to see what ones I will be doing next year.. I thought, what was the most festive thing at Christmas? I instantly thought Mince Pies but I know people are vegetarian and some may want a healthy version so I am going to do 2 different ways.. One is from the legendary Nigella Lawson and the other is from the great Lorraine Pascale (the Veggie Pie is also by her...)

Recipe 1:
The Short Cut Ones:
I've done these first mainly because L comes before N alphabetically so...
The End Result

 



One on their own

Ingredients:
  • 500g Puff pastry pack (all butter puff pastry if possible)
  • 9 tbsp Mincemeat
  • 1tbsp Port
  • 2 drops of Vanilla extract
  • A pinch/around a tsp of Orange zest
  • Some Icing sugar for dusting the pastry and for the end
  • 1 Beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup (warmed)
Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Line 2 baking trays with non stick baking parchment. Roll the puff pastry out onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar into a large square. .
  • Cut into 10cm squares using a sharp knife/pizza cutter. Cut about 3cm into each corner. Once you have done this. After this, mix the mincemeat with the port, orange zest and two drops of vanilla extract. Drop a tablespoon of the mincemeat into the middle of each square.
  •  Brush the pastry with beaten egg then fold one corner into the centre letting a little overlap happen. Repeat with the other corners to make a windmill shape.
  • With the remaining offcuts of pastry, make little stars and stick them on top of each pastry with a little bit of beaten egg that's left over.
  • Dust quite well with icing sugar and bake for around 12-15 minutes (or 'golden brown'.) Cool Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Brush with maple syrup and serve!
Recipe 2:
The Homemade One:
Nigella's version
These are definitely vegetarian suitable:

For The Pastry:
  • 240g plain flour
  • 60g vegetable shortening/Margarine
  • 60g cold butter
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 350g mincemeat
  • icing sugar (for dusting)
For the mincemeat:
  • 60ml ruby port
  • 75g soft dark brown sugar
  • 300g cranberries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • half a tsp ground cloves
  • 75g currants
  • 75g raisins
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 Clementine/Orange
  • 25ml brandy
  • 3 drops almond extract
  • half a tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp honey
Method:
  • Make the mincemeat in advance.  In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the port over a gentle heat.  Add the cranberries and stir.  Add the spices, dried fruit and the zest and juice of the clementine/orange.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Add the brandy, almond extract, vanilla extract and honey and stir well with a wooden spoon to make it into a paste.  Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars and, once cool, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
  • Once you are ready to make your pies, get out a tray of miniature tart tins, each indent 4.5cm / 2 inches in diameter, along with a 5.5cm / 2¼ inch fluted, round biscuit cutter and a 4cm / 1¾ inch star cutter.
  • Measure the flour into a shallow bowl/dish and with a teaspoon dollop little mounds of vegetable shortening into the bowl. Add the butter (diced small) shake to cover it then put in the freezer for 20 minutes. This is what will make the pastry so tender later. Mix together the orange juice and salt in a separate, small bowl, cover and leave in the fridge to chill. 
  • After the 20 minutes, empty the flour and fat into the bowl of your food processor and blitz.  Pour the salted juice down the funnel pulsing until it looks as if the dough is about to come together (you want to stop just before it does (even if some orange juice is left). If all your juice is used up and you need more liquid, add some iced water.
  • If you prefer to use a freestanding mixer to make the pastry, cut the fats into the flour with the flat paddle, leaving the bowl in the fridge to chill down for the 20-minute flour-and-fat-freezer session.  Add liquid. I often find the pastry uses more liquid in the mixer than the processor.
  • Turn the mixture out of the processor or mixing bowl onto a pastry board or work surface and using your hands combine to a dough. Then form into 3 discs.
  • Wrap each disc in clingfilm and put in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7/425F.
  • Roll out the discs one at a time as thinly as you can  in other word. This is easy-going dough so just get rolling and patch up as you need.
  • Out of each rolled-out disc cut out circles a little wider than the holes in the tart tins. I use a fluted cookie cutter for this.  Press these circles gently into the moulds and dollop in a teaspoon of mincemeat.
  • Then cut out your stars with your little star cutter or just leave them if you don't have one (re-rolling the pastry) and place the tops lightly on the mincemeat.
  • Put in the oven and bake for 10–15 minutes: keep an eye on them as they really don’t take long and ovens do vary.
  • Remove from the oven, prising out the little pies straight away and letting the empty tin cool down before you start putting in the pastry for the next batch.  Carry on until they’re all done.
  • Dust over some icing sugar in a tea strainer and serve.
 
I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post and if you make any of these then don't forget to comment and tell me how it went. This is the last Christmas Cooking post of the year but next years will include canap├ęs for Christmas Day morning, the perfect turkey and a classic French dessert to serve on Christmas Day for all you Christmas Pudding haters. I shall be vlogging and probably blogging about what I have got for Christmas/shopping so look out on here and my YouTube channel for that. I hope you have a Merry Christmas and I hope to see you next time!







 





     

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