I love food! Not just eating it, but creating it. What beats an afternoon in the kitchen, making a mess as well as scrumptious treats? But when a friend had to alter her diet due to food intolerances I realised not everyone can carelessly indulge. So I set out to make a cake she could eat, and when I achieved a flourless, vegan chocolate cake that tasted pretty good I wondered what else was possible. And so my journey begins into a world of baking where there is always something missing...
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Well Christmas really is fast approaching and my homemade mincemeat has been maturing nicely for the last month so I thought it was about time to make some mince pies. Other than using my suet-free mincemeat there isn’t anything missing from this recipe, but Christmas is the time of year when we all indulge a little so I thought I could get away with it this time! In fact there is a little hidden extra in this recipe, with a custard layer hiding below the mincemeat in these mini pies.
250g plain flour
150g butter, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
1 large jar of homemade mincemeat (about ½ the quantity made in my original recipe…although if you haven’t got time to make your own a jar of shop bought mincemeat will be fine)
Birds Custard Powder (I’ve cheated slightly on this one! You could make your own custard from scratch….or cheat a little more and buy ready-made custard)
½ pint of milk
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degC/ 400 degF
Start by making the pastry.
Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the butter, salt and egg into the well and use your fingers to gently bind these ingredients together, gradually drawing the flour into the centre of the bowl, producing a dough with a slightly grainy texture.
Add the milk and continue to gradually incorporate this into the mixture with your fingers until the dough begins to hold together. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for a couple of minutes to create a smooth texture. Roll it into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.
Next make the custard. I cheated a little and used birds custard powder, following the instructions on the back of the tub to make a pint but halved the amount of milk added to the mixture to ½ a pint to make an extra thick custard.
Grease each dip in a muffin tray (I like to make mini mince pies so used in mini muffin tin).
Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface and cut out circles to line the muffin tin. Gently work each circle into the muffin tin and place a large teaspoon of the custard into each. Then top with the mincemeat.
You can now add a pastry lid to each pie. Although I find adding a full lid to a mini pie can result in a bit too much pastry compared to the filling making them a little heavy so I cut out little stars and added one to the top of each pie. Then brush the pies with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven sprinkling each pie with a little extra sugar and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Any extra pastry can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days until you find another use for it, or popped into the freezer for use at a later date.