Its been a long time since I last posted. The days have grown shorter, darker. The trees turned russet and gold and are now bare, their leaves long since swept and gathered. Winter arrived with misty mornings and damp chilly evenings. I am not sure where the time has gone.
We are full of good intentions. Whether work related or personal, we often make plans to be productive, to achieve more. At some point comes the realisation that not everything is possible. The year has come full circle and some of my best intentions, especially for the blog, have not transpired quite as planned. Days set aside to cook and share, swallowed up with work commitments. And yet I am so grateful. In that sense it has been an incredible year, I have been fortunate to work and collaborate with some amazing brands and clients.
Christmas is almost upon us and with it the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. To enjoy the simple things . You may have plans to make a wreath for the front door, to make homemade gifts for all your friends, to cook everything from scratch. But then you run out of time and find yourself hanging someone else’s beautifully made wreath on the door, or buying a jar of ready made mincemeat. You are not alone, believe me.
Of course you could buy mince pies too, but I have to say I find them quite disappointing. There is something about eating them warm from the oven. Maybe it is the crumbly, buttery, pastry flavoured with clementine, but homemade mince pies are definitely worth a little effort. I usually make my own mincemeat too, but lack of time this year means using shop bought. Which is fine, I just add fresh clementine zest and a little extra brandy or amaretto.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year x
- 250g of plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g of caster sugar
- 125g of cold unsalted butter, cubed plus extra for greasing the tin
- Finely grated zest of 2 clementines
- 2-3 tablespoons of clementine juice
- For the filling
- 312g jar of good quality mincemeat
- 1 tablespoon of brandy, amaretto or dark rum
- grated zest of 1 clementine
- icing sugar to dust
- Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and stir. Add the cubed butter and lightly rub it into the flour and sugar mixture using your fingers.
- Add the grated clementine zest and 2-3 teaspoons of juice. Using the flat side of a cutlery knife bring the mixture together, adding more clementine juice if necessary. Knead very lightly until it forms a ball.
- Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/Gas 7.
- Grease a 24 hole mini tart tin if you are making small pies or a 9 hole tart tin, if you making larger pies.
- Dust the work surface with flour and thinly roll out the pastry.
- To make mini pies: use a 6cm pastry cutter to cut out pastry circles to line the tin. Use a 4cm star cutter to make the tops. Re-roll and use any trimmings. Fill each with 1 teaspoon of mincemeat and place the pastry star on top.
- To make normal size pies: use an 8cm pastry cutter to cut out pastry circles to line the tin. Use a 6cm star cutter to make the tops. Re-roll and use any trimmings. Fill each with 2 teaspoons of mincemeat and place the pastry stars on top.
- Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is golden.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
- Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar or place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- The pies will keep for a couple of days in an airtight tin. Simple place on a baking sheet in a preheated oven at 200C/180C fan/Gas 6 for 5 minutes to warm through to serve.