Sunday, 6 December 2009

About mince pies

 Now its December we can get on with the serious business of troughing mince pies.

 It is of course much better to make your own rather than asking Mr Tesco or one of his confederates. It's one of the few parts where I don't mind following the
Delia get ingredients, assemble,  cook,  eat philosophy.  The mince meat really needs to be made months in advance and is a fiddly job, so I cheated and back in October bought a jar (co-op fairtrade) opened it & added a generous measure of damson brandy, gave it shake and left it till yesterday (actually I gave it a shake every week or two). Of course its a little late for that advice now, but you can easily boost any old mincemeat with some booze & extra spices, it might be a touch harsh, but it is adjustable to your own taste.

 Then comes the pastry, luckily I had leftover pie pastry from the apple pie and I like my minces with a shortcrust. If you are following along at home & don't fancy making pastry you can buy frozen, choosing your favourite style. What I don't have are a pie tray & a pastry cutter. Pastry cutters are easily improvised (pint glass) or if you are the kind of person who can manage a knife freehand, you can do that (which means you can make lidded pies of the fancy kind with a mostly open top & a pastry decoration. The pie tray is a bit more of an issue, but there are ways round it (a muffin tray this time, but the paper cases or the mincemeat pasty would work).

 once out of the oven, serve anyway you like, sprinkle icing sugar over the top, whip cream, make brandy butter or custard or just scoff  them.  My  preferred option is straight from the oven with whipped cream, luxury. (as an added bonus they smell great and make the kitchen a lovely winter warm spot) There is of course no need to tell the filling came from a jar & the pastry from the freezer, just enjoy your mince pies EXACTLY how you like them(*).

(*) There is apparently a mythical being who doesn't like mince pies, you are very unlikely to meet this creature, but if you do, extra mince pies

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