I’ve become rather excited about all parts of the festive season lately – I guess I have finally accepted the summer is over and now I need to get ready for the winter. To me, this means, food, food and more food. I’m now thinking about pumpkin soups, Christmas cakes, chocolate logs, cheese boards, roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, gravy and mince pies.
Just listing those was making my mouth water! So I decided to get ahead of myself and start celebrating the festive season. My mum bought a couple of pumpkins for us to carve out and although I seem to have lost much of my artistic skill since the last time I carved a pumpkin while at university, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
After I was finished, I scraped the rubbish into the bin, lit a candle inside my new friend, Doug, as I named him, then began to get out all of the baking bits and pieces. Sadly one of the women at my work that I like and admire the most is taking voluntary redundancy and because of the rate of it being processed, she is due to leave today. I wanted to do something nice for her last day so I decided to bake some mince pies because I know she loves my baking.
I have my own way of making the gorgeous little pies, I use a mixture of shortcrust and puff pastry for the bottoms and tops. I usually use shortcrust pastry on the bottom cup, fork some holes in the bottom, pop them into a muffin tray and fill the holes with delicious mincemeat.
For the tops, I use a heart-shaped cutter to cut out puff pastry, or shortcrust works just as well, and after coating them in milk, I pop the hearts on top. Bake in the over for around 15 minutes, or until golden brown and then take out to cool. Once they have cooled, scatter icing sugar over the top and enjoy!
TOP TIP: If you are feeling particularly decadent, make the whole mince pie with puff pastry – it melts in your mouth and is even better!
ADMISSION: No I don’t make my own pastry – I am fully able to and have done in the past, but don’t really see the point when it is never quite as nice as shop bought, takes a hell of a lot less time to make these pies (one of the attractions is it takes less than 30 mins to make a huge batch) and even the professional chefs use shop bought and recommend it.