Saturday, 8 December 2012

6 ways with mince pies



... i've recently discovered a new Lincolnshire based fashion blog called Stella and Alf... it's written by two young uber-cool designers called Paris and Charlotte and they write about this wonderfully cool world of fashion and art that I used to be part of more than 20 years ago... they've very kindly asked me to write a guest post on their blog based on one of the twelve days of christmas... I got Day Six and here's what I did...

... yes dear friends, even though it seems like only yesterday, here comes christmas once again... don't panic... take a deep breath... you should be having fun, tis' the season of good-will, after-all and if you happen to have friends and family popping in unannounced over the next few weeks you should be so fabulously prepared that nothing will phase you... and you know we'll all get through it together if we follow these three simple rules...

one... calm down and have a little something to drink, I promise it will all seem better through the fog of a swift thimble of whisky

two... try and let go a little... if you're anything like me, your kitchen is your special haven and nobody messes with your sacred space... this is all very well at any other time of the year but this is christmas and people like to wonder around and help... let them in... again I promise it will be ok

three... buy puff pastry, it will save your life - Sainsbury's sell two types of ready-rolled puff pastry, their regular one is perfectly nice but their all-butter one is wonderful for a little naughty luxury... and this is where it's ok not to bother making your own... keep 3 or 4 rolls in the fridge and between the door-bell ringing and the first bottle of champagne downed you'll have a collection of glorious piping hot mince pies ready to serve...

... oh and whilst making your own mincemeat is pretty simple, one other time saving little tip I would add is to jazz up shop-bought mincemeat by adding a dash of your favourite christmas liquor, a sprinkling of almond slithers and some grated orange or lemon peel...



Mince Pie Palmiers

1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
1 jar of mince meat

so simple it would be a crime not to make them… simply spread the mincemeat onto the puff pastry sheet and then roll up each end until they meet in the middle.  Half an hour in the fridge should make them easier to slice, after which lay them on a baking sheet and bake at 170C for 20 mins


Classic Mince Pies with Cream Cheese Pastry
These are now my go-to mince pies, mainly because the pastry is simply the best sweet pastry you will ever make.  I use the left-over egg white to make some simple soft meringue tops but you can also cut shaped pastry lids for them too.
  
For the pastry
200g plain flour
150g butter
75g cream cheese
50g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
50g sugar

in a large bowl crumble the butter into the flour using your hands, until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the rest of the ingredients bringing it together with a little water or milk until you have a soft dough – wrap in cling-film and pop in the fridge for 30 mins

roll out the chilled pastry and cut out rounds of pastry big enough to fill a muffin tin or cupcake tray.  Fill each case with mincemeat and then either top with a pastry lid or whisk up the left-over egg white with a tablespoon of sugar until you have stiff peaks and spoon on top.  Bake for 20 mins on 170C.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.


Pinwheel Puff Pastry Mince Pies

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry cut into 8cm squares
1 jar of mince meat

This may look like it would be fiddly but it’s so easy you’ll wonder why you’d never tried this classic pastry technique before.  If my instructions aren’t clear try this link for a very clear instruction videos.

Take a square of pastry and slice a cut from each corner diagonally into the centre, stopping before you reach the centre.  Place a teaspoon of mince meat in the centre and then fold every other half-cut corner into the centre, leaving the other half flat, pushing into the mincemeat until you have done all four. I have made mini pinwheels to go on top of each one but you can simply brush them with beaten egg and bake on 170C for 20 mins.





Filo Pastry Mince Pies
You will need a muffin tin or cupcake tin to make these.  I use a 12 hole muffin tin that I brush with melted butter.

4 sheets of  filo pastry
1 jar of mince meat
melted butter

cut the filo into squares that are slightly larger than the holes in your muffin tin.  Brush each square with butter and lay it into the muffin hole, brushing it in to shape then layer each hole with 4 sheets of filo.  Don’t worry if they look messy or they tear, this will enhance the finished look.  Fill each one with a teaspoon of mincemeat and then, with the left-over squares, create pastry roses by scrunching them up with your fingers and laying them on top.  Bake for 20 mins on 160C until golden.  A light dusting of icing sugar when cooled will make them sparkle!

eat and of course, enjoy…and if you listen closely you can hear the sound of sleigh-bells!

26 comments:

  1. I think jazzing up shop bought mince meat is a great idea and so is buying puff pastry. Life is too short etc. etc. I like the idea of cream cheese pastry

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  2. So glad you advocate the shop-bought route! My girl and I have just made a batch of sainsburys pre-rolled short crust pies, using a jar of their mincemeat:: turns catering into child's play (literally) and still tastes yummy :-)

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  3. I am also a sucker for mince meat. Though I have never made my own homemade, the store bought jars are delicious enough for me. I love how you gave so many choices for serving them. YUM!

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  4. These really brings in the Christmas cheer..beautiful setup :)

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  5. I particularly love the look of the "martial arts death star" variety - if anyone gets on your nerves at a function ... wheeeee-thwunk! Death by mince pie lodged in the forehead. Appetising and with a practical use too, what more could one ask for?

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    1. Thanks Ian. I actually used your name for these at a recent cooking demo and the audience chuckled merrily. So thank you x

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  6. Mincemeat pie is a childhood favourite Dom. There are so many excellent choices here.

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  8. OMG! This is such a gorgeous show-off of mincemeat! I love love love the puffy little mince pies and your pinwheels make mine look dowdy! So fancy up top - just beautiful! Happy putting up the tree day! Am thinking of you and Viking man!

    PS ... too many typos in earlier delete... oops!

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  9. Nice selection of mincies - I'm loving that cream cheese pastry.

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  10. I love the fruit mince-meat, and these look delicious! What a great treat for holiday visitors!

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  11. Great selection of mince pie ideas ... I really want to try the palmier version!

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  12. Shop-bought puff is the best tip at Christmas! I love mince pies and might try a couple of these, although I tend to stay traditional. I also saw a recipe this year which has marzipan involved (I can't remember it completely!) but it sounded lovely...

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  13. Some brilliant ideas here, Dom, and I especially love the use of ready made pastry. The last thing you need when you have unexpected guests is to be panicking about what to feed them. Love your pictures as well - have just been putting up our deccies and am absolutely loving the festive vibe! :)

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  14. Lovely selection of mince pies Dom, so much more interesting than just having a big platter of the same kind, although I wouldn't say no to that either!

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  15. Some lovely ideas here, and some of them look even quicker than making traditional mince pies - just what I need this year!

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  16. NICE collection of mince pies Dom! LOVING the filo ones ones for less calories.....yeah, do you believe me?! Karen xxx

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  17. Fabulous selection of little pies Dom! You can never ever have enough mincey pies this time of year...

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  18. The frozen puff pastry looks absolutely perfect for those pinwheels. They are on THE LIST the list grows by the day. But for my traditional mince pies I never mess with the beautiful orange pastry that I have been making since 1987 a Josceline Dimbleby Christmas Book bought in Sainsbury's - give it a try if you have time: http://magnoliaverandah.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/mince-pies-de-luxe.html

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  19. Well, Dom, I certainly have to admit that you have taken the humble mince pie into a new dimension! They look fabulous. I particularly like the pinwheel ones - something very different.

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  20. Wow, you've been seriously busy!! Love all your mince pies...I really need to crack on with making some as they're my favourite! Not sure which style I'd pick as my favourite though! :-)

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  21. Can't decide which to start with out of the six, all look delicious! I'm with you about buying puff pastry, pure masochism to make your own when the bought stuff is this good.

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  22. I absolutely love mince pies. It saddens me that we don't eat them all year. These all look gorgeous and you've given me some great ideas for the next two weeks of mince pies :)
    A friend handed me a recipe for pear and ginger mincemeat which I really need to try out as well.

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  23. I love your pinwheel mince pies. Thanks for your tips and advice x

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