It’s Christmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasss! !!!!!

Posted December 18th, 2011 by Christine

Very few things will make me get up willingly in the morning, however I can be very quick to get out of bed at the prospect of cooking, so I was quite happy to amble over to the thermostat to defrost the flat at 7am and start making mince pies. Everyone has their own version of these, so this is mine, lovingly ripped off and then modified from ‘The Great British Book of Baking’.

Makes: between 12 and 20 depending on how mean you are with the pastry/ how lazy you are at rolling out

Time to mouth: 2 hours (ish)- remember you’re still half awake

Prep:30-45 mins including time to gently wake up Neil

Cooking: 20-25 mins per batch

Ingredients:

for the pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 85g caster sugar (icing sugar can also be used, but might push Neil’s sanity to the limit in terms of mess)
  • 175g unsalted butter, not completely rock hard, diced
  • 1 medium egg from a happy chicken
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • a dusting of cinnamon

for the filling:

  • about 400g mincemeat (not the type that used to be part of a cow)
  • a good glug of christmassy alcohol such as brandy, rum, amaretto (hic!)

How to make them:

  1. Combine the flour, almonds and sugar in a mixing bowl until well mixed.
  2. Add the butter and rub together to form fine crumbs. If the mixture insists on sticking together, try adding a tiny bit more flour and rubbing for a few more minutes.
  3. Make a well in the middle, chuck in the egg, vanilla and cinnamon. Knead together to form a firm, damp but not sticky ball. Knead a bit more to make sure you’ve mixed thoroughly. If the dough starts to fall apart or crack, very carefully add a teaspoon of water and knead again.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling-film and shove it in the fridge for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with.
  5. Gently wake up Neil keeping in mind the sleeping beauty theme, with a drink of your choice. Leave to marinate in the shower at his own pace.
  6. Mix the mincemeat with the alcohol. Keep the jar, as there may be leftovers.
  7. When the dough has had it’s time, roll out on a floured surface. It may be that you find it is too dry to work with and falls apart. See point 3.
  8. Cut out 8cm rounds for the pie bases and smooth into the mince pie tin, gently evicting any air bubbles.
  9. Put a teaspoon blob of mince in the middle of each pie. Any more and the pies will explode/boil over.
  10. Using the smallest cutter or novelty cutter of your choice, make some hats for the pies. These should not seal them, unless you like cleaning mince-glass-varnish off the top inside of your oven.
  11. Place in the pre-heated oven at 180°c./GM4 for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on the pastry, as it browns rapidly.
  12. Let them sit in the tin a few minutes before lifting onto the cooling rack. Boiling mince hurts.
  13. Neil should now be awake enough to deal with the mess. If not, make him a bacon sandwich and put on your best cute face.

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