Well I went to the shop this morning and looked at the sugar section. There were two sizes of white sugar, and 3 different types of brown sugar, but no icing sugar to be had. So we will not be having Christmas cake on Christmas day. (See yesterday’s post)
I made mince pies instead. There is an easy way and a not-so-easy way to make mince pies. We’ll cover the easy way first.
Easy way: – Buy a jar of mincemeat.
12 oz plain flour
7 oz butter
water to mix
In a large bowl rub the butter into the flour. Use real butter, it makes the pastry so much lighter, flakier, and tastier. Once the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, add cold water, a little at a time, mixing well until the pastry forms a ball. If you pour the water straight in from the tap, move the bowl away before you turn the water off, or you may end up turning the tap the wrong way and flooding your pastry. Me? I never did that, I just know how easy it would be for it to happen…
Roll out the pastry and cut out large rounds for the bottoms, small rounds for the tops. Put the bottoms in a muffin tin, fill with mincemeat (depending on how big they are, up to a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat is good. Too much and it spills everywhere and it is very hard to clean up molten mincemeat.) and brush milk around the edges. Place the tops on, brush with milk and put in a 200°C oven for 10 – 15 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
Not-so-easy way:- Make your own mincemeat. This takes time, but you can adjust it to suit your own tastes (no peel for me thanks!) and if you use alcohol and store in an airtight jar, it will easily keep for a year, if not longer.
1 lemon, boiled for an hour until soft
3 1/2 oz raisins
3 1/2 oz sultanas
1/2 large cooking apple, peeled and cored
3 1/2 oz dried mixed fruit
2 1/2 oz mixed peel (as I don’t like peel, I omit the mixed fruit and peel and use the same weight of raisins, sultanas and currants)
3 1/2 oz suet
3 1/2 oz dark brown sugar
3 1/2 oz currants
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ginger
2 fl oz brandy
2 fl oz sherry (or use 4 fl oz brandy and omit sherry)
Cut the cooled, boiled lemon in half and throw away the pips. Put it, along with the raisins, sultanas, apple, mixed fruit and peel in the food processor and blend to a paste. Put the paste in a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well, and leave overnight. Or, if you make this well in advance, put in an airtight jar and it will keep at room temperature until you need it. I have never had to keep mine in the fridge, but then my kitchen is frigid at the best of times. In winter, it’s warmer in the freezer.
Merry Christmas, and happy eating!