Just a quick but cheery post today ……why……….. because we are all quick and rushing that little bit too much this pointy end of the year and the ‘cheer-y’ is because……….well it is Christmas and I think you all know by now that I do love a bit of cheer come Christmas. I have been told that I am one of those annoying people who just love Christmas. ‘annoying’ – nice huh!
I made my first batch of mince pies this week. These babies are my weakness – all that sweet buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pastry with that boozy and punchy mince filling. I cannot stop at one. Oh no-sir-ee, I cannot. According to folklore, eating a fruit mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas brings wealth and prosperity. Let’s just say I ‘m on track to become a multi-millionaire come December 25th.
If time allows, make your fruit mince in advance and store, until ready to use, in the fridge. This sweet pastry is sensational (not just for fruit mince, of course) and will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week and it also freezes beautifully for up to 1 month. You can even blind bake the pastry cases and store in an airtight container ; perfect for filling with whatever your heart so desires (lemon filling is a bit of a treat). Enjoy these fruit mince pies and remember, with each one enjoyed, you are inching your way a little closer to your million.
I hope you all have a happy and not too stressful lead up to a very special Christmas day. Add a little more spirit to your mince filling if you are feeling the stress – it’ll be sure to help put the Merry in your Christmas.
Merry Christmas to all. x
Fruit mince pies
To make your own fruit filling:
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/3 cup sultanas
¼ cup candied (or glace’) peel
½ cup currants
1/3 cup slivered almonds or blanched almonds, finely chopped
Grated rind and juice of ½ a lemon
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
30g butter, melted
2 tablespoons of sherry
To make the fruit filling, place the apple, sultanas, candied peel, currants, almonds, lemon zest and juice, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, butter and sherry in a bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Roll out the pastry until 2mm thick. Cut into 7cm rounds by using a cookie cutter. Place pastry in shallow patty tins. Place 3 teaspoons of fruit mixture in each tart. Cut stars, Christmas trees, hearts or criss cross strips of remaining pastry and place on top of the fruit mixture. Brush with the egg, sprinkle with the sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
*** A sublime sweet shortcrust pastry : Process 330g plain flour with 100g icing sugar and ½ lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt and blitz for a few seconds. Add 180g cubed and very chilled butter and whizz in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. With the motor running, add 1 egg yolk and about 70ml iced water to form a dough. Knead lightly then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll to 2mm thick. This makes 700g of pastry.
If using store bought fruit filling: If you buy a good quality fruit filling, add a little fresh lemon juice and grated granny smith apple before spooning into the tart cases…………………………..