… whilst many people are beginning to wind down for Christmas we have the most excited week at The Persuaders this week as we launch a new product for Benefit Cosmetics… i’m a little bit nervous about what we’ve got to achieve and it’s all top secret as the product is only going to be revealed to a selected few media types but it’s been the most incredibly creative journey working with the loveliest team of people from the brand. I love it when your clients become friends. It can be a very tricky bridge to cross at times but when it works it works like a family. The respect is still there of course but when a client can be honest with you about what’s working and what’s not and you, in turn can advise them with your knowledge and creativity then the best results are achieved and everyone looks good!… so if you’re in London on Thursday look out for a giant pink shipping container on the back of a 40ft truck and wave hello and think of me…
fig and honey mince pies with chocolate shortcrust pastry
I always forget how much figs have an affinity with Christmas, not only are they part of Christmas folklore – think of a figgy pudding – but they are also natures Christmas baubles… gloriously dark and purple velvety in colour and then pull them open and they reveal a jewelled heart that puts any modern day plastic creation to shame – they also remind me of the story of the Three Kings as they have such a richness to them you can imagine Balthazar bringing them from Spain all the way to Bethlehem…
i’m also using some beautiful British Acacia Honey honey sent to me by the good people at Clarks… as regular readers will know I am a huge honey fan and will always look out for a local honey wherever I am in the world… British Honey is expensive and normally comes set, so by carefully mixing British blossom and Acacia Honey, Clarks have created an affordable natural, clear runny honey… it has a very floral and deep tone to its flavour and you can see why it has been short listed for the Grocer New Product of the Year Award 2014…
this is my utmost favourite pastry for mince pies and i’ve added some cocoa powder to it for some extra richness…
for the pastry (makes 24 tarts)
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
100g full fat cream cheese
75g ground almonds
1 egg yolk
a little milk to bind
start with the pastry by sifting the flour baking powder and sugar into a bowl, add the butter and rub until it resembles breadcrumbs
add the cream cheese, ground almonds, cocoa powder and egg yolk, take a knife and mix until it comes together into a dough, you may need to add a little milk here, as I did.
chill the dough for at least 30 mins before rolling out.
roll out the dough and use a cookie or scone cutter to cut out rounds to fill your mini tart tin… choose a cutter size that is slightly bigger that the holes rather than the same size)
place a teaspoon or two into each tart case then shimmy one or two pieces of fig into the mincemeat followed by a generous drizzle of honey
bake for 25 mins on 170C the set aside to cool before devouring!
i’m entering these gorgeous little pies into the we should cocoa bloggers challenge, hosted by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog which has the theme of figs and i’m also entering it into the Tea Time Treats bloggers challenge hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage, which has the theme of Christmas sparkle!
eat and of course, enjoy!