The Christmas fever has settled in and am baking like a maniac these days. Last Friday I baked a huge batch of coconut-chocolate chip cookies (recipe coming soon) for the kiddie neighbors and then went out with the baby for our evening stroll. After sometime got an incredible warming aroma of home baking. I tried to guess which house it was wafting from only to realize that we had reached the back of our own house and the very smell was the result of my whole afternoon slogging in the kitchen. Funny Eh!!!
Hubby wants to gift homemade cookies and cakes to his collegues in the new office and I plan to shower my sonny boy’s friends with some choclate treats. Then we have my cousin sister and her 4 year old little brat, some very good friends who would drop in to save us from anything even in the middle of night, some more friends who have invited us for Christmas and New year parties this year and for me something homemade makes the best hostess gift. So baking, baking and baking some more for me this year and am loving every minute of it.
Last year I made this incredibly good Rich Fruit cake for Christmas. All our guests in the Christmas party loved the cake except Hubby. Somehow he dint appreciate the rich flavour of soaked dry fruits in rum and red wine. We still have a small jar of soaked fruits from last year and I was wondering what to make with that and zeroed on Mince pies. Watched the recipe on Rachel Allen’s 'Bake' a few months back and liked the idea of combining crunchy pastry shell with soft soaked fruits and nuts.
I followed this mince meat recipe from Joy of Baking and it tasted absolutely delicious. I almost convinced myself dropping the idea of baking the pies and eating the mince meat as it is. If you like the deep flavour of rum combined with the slight bitter-sweet rich taste of the soaked fruits and the heat from nutmeg and cinnamon…then this mincemeat is for you. But am glad that I only ate a few spoonful and finally made these pies…they look gorgeous but taste even better. It has a sensational sweet, crunchy, juicy taste or as our very own
'Kalyan, The Knife' describes, It gives you sheer Adult pleasure. Even while am writing this post am tempted to go and open the fridge to have another bite right away…on a good note even Hubby liked this taste and this morning lovingly added a couple of these mini pies to his lunch box.
Between, did you know that in the beginning mincemeat actually had meat and eggs. Later suet or kidney fat was replaced for meat. Now a days it is made with or without the fat, mostly with lots of dry and candied fruits and nuts soaked in good quality wine or rum.
Here is the very easy recipe
The mincemeat recipe is minimally adapted from here.
(For 12 small pies)
Green Apples: 2 (Used Granny smith Variety)
Apple Juice: ½ cup (Used Tropicana 100%)
Brown sugar: 3 tbsp
Butter: 1 tbsp
Candied gingers: 1 tbsp
Nutmeg powder: 1/3 tsp
Cinnamon powder: ½ tsp
Clove powder (I powdered 2 cloves)
Soaked fruits and nuts in rum and red wine : 2/3 cup (recipe HERE)
If you don’t have soaked nuts, add the following to the above ingredients
Raisins: 2 tbsp
Currants: 2 tbsp
Candied peels: 4 tbsp
Candied fruits like pineapple, mango etc: 2-3 tbsp
Tutti frutti: 5-6 tbsp
Rum/red wine: ¾ cup
Wash, Peel and chop the apples in small cubes.
Put everything in a heavy bottom pot. Mix well and boil on low till all the juice dries up and the fruits soak up all the flavours. Do this by occasionally stirring the mincemeat, otherwise it might burn at the bottom.
Cool it completely before use.
I dint store it but according to Joy of cooking it stays good in the fridge for a month if added little rum or wine every week.
The Pate Brisee or the pie shell
Flour: 11/2 cups
Castor sugar: 2 tbsp
Chilled Butter: 6 tbsp
Ice cold water: as required
Take the flour and sugar in a big plate.
Rub the butter in the flour till a bread crumb consistency is achieved. If needed add more butter.
Pour ice cold water very little at a time and lightly mix it in the flour. Use only your fingers and at no point add pressure. That way the heat from your palms will melt the butter and the pastry would be heavy and chewy.
Just when the dough starts to come together wrap that in a cling film. Lightly tap and make a disk of 1” thickness and chill for an hour.
Assembling and baking
After the chilling time roll the dough between two sheets of cling film to ½” thickness.
Cut circles slightly bigger than the tart moulds. Spread the circle to cover the entire inside of a greased tart mould. Poke few holes with a fork and blind bake for 5 minutes in a preheated (200C) oven.
Roll out the remaining dough to ¼” thickness and cut any shape of your wish with a floured cookie cutter. Set aside.
Fill the tarts with the prepared mincemeat and top with a star shape. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till lightly browned on the sides.
Let it cool completely before trying to unmould.
A Homemaker’s Note:
Generously butter the inside of the tart moulds or unmoulding the pies becomes very difficult.
You can also brush the top with little milk to get golden brown colour.
1. Champa's Bake off.
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