Christmas peoples! It’s that festive time of year again when Ole Frankie Sinatra gets wheeled out singing Jingle Bells, I wee my pants at the sight of Christmas lights and see every evening as an excuse to pop a cork. As per tradition, I have made my first batch of Mince Pies 2011 and contrary to previous years I am saying “meh!” to vegetarians and pork-sensitive types the world over and stuffing my pies with suet – just because I can.
This year’s filling is as traditional as the Queen’s Speech, and as usual comes with lashings of brandy. So without further ado, to make Emma’s calorie-ridden, animal-fat bearing, ultra boozy mince pies, you will need:
For the filling…
- French Brandy. 1/4 for pouring into the mix. 3/4 for pouring into the chef.
- 2 handfuls of chopped mixed candied peel.
- 1 handful of ground almonds
- 3 handfuls of soft brown muscovado sugar
- 4 small diced and peeled apples
- 1 handful of crushed walnuts
- 1 1/2 handfuls of suet
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- grating of nutmeg
- 3 crushed cloves
For the pastry…
- Are you kidding me? It’s Christmas, who needs the stress!? Go out and by some ready made…
How to make ‘em:
Grab an ovenproof bowl and mix into it all your dry ingredients. Splash over a generous helping of brandy until the mix is dark and sticky. Cover with aluminium foil and pop into an oven at 120° for about 3 hours until your mince pie mix is thick and smelling wonderful. In the meantime, watch a cheesy movie with the remaining brandy and some chocolates. Or dance in your kitchen. You know you want to.
An hour before the mix is ready, roll out your pastry and cut into 24 circles – 12 slightly smaller ones (the pie bases), 12 slightly bigger ones (the pie lids). Butter a pattie/cupcake tin and lay your pie bases onto them. Pop in the fridge until the mix is ready.
Remove your mix from the oven, let it cool with the cover still on. When cool, take out your mince pie bases from the fridge and add a dollop of mix into each one. Cover with the mince pie lids, seal by pressing edges together with your fingers. With the leftover dough, make some funky shapes (Xmas trees, stars, leaves, whatever you like) and stick onto the mince pies with a bit of milk.
Pop into the oven at 180° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with thick cream or brandy butter. And a hefty serving of the good stuff in a glass.
HURRAH! Merry Christmas!