Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Delicious Homemade Mince Pies

This year I decided to make my own fruit mince, so, despite looking for inspiration from Nigella and the like, I of course made up my own.

I started with the peel, and as the flavour of bought peel, just isn't right, I decided to make my own. Candying peel, although easy, is a bit of a long process, it take about 6 days.

You will need:

1.8 kg of Sugar
1 kg Citrus Fruit (preferably unwaxed)
1 litre of water
100g Glucose

Start with fruit, I use a mixture of orange, clementine and lemon. Remove the peel from the fruit and cut into strips. Place in a saucepan, covered with water and simmer for 30 min. Remove peel from water and drain.

In a saucepan, place the peel and 1kg of Caster Sugar and cover with water then simmer for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool, covered with the lid.

The next day remove the peel from the syrup with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl, In the syrup place 200g of Caster sugar and bring to the boil, making sure all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, replace the peel, and cover with the saucepan lid and leave to cool for another 24 hours. Repeat this process for 3 more days.

On the 5th day, repeat the above, but instead of Caster sugar, add the glucose. Leave for another 24 hours. Then remove the peel and leave to dry completely on a wire rack for another 24 hours, now it's ready to use. So that wasn't so hard was it?

For the Mince Pies:

4 x Quince (if you can't find quince, brambly apples will do)
100g Butter
Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
Zest and juice of 1 Orange
200 g Sultanas
250 g Currants
250 g Raisins
100 g Candied Peel, chopped up into very small pieces
600 g Soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 1/2 Teaspoons Mixed Spice
200 ml Brandy

Cut the quince into quarters and roast in a medium oven for 30 min, along with a 100g brown sugar and the butter. Remove from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Core the quince then grate. I find it easier and quicker to use a food processor to do this.

In a large bowl, mix together all the other ingredients then add the quince. Place in sterilized preserving jars. The mincemeat will keep for about 10 months in the fridge.

For the pastry:

185 g unsalted butter
100 g Sugar
1 egg
575 g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1/2 Orange
1 egg beaten

This pastry is based on a Skye Gyngall recipe, simply because I always find her pastries always work so beautifully. I added the orange zest just to give it an extra Christmasy flavour.

Place all ingredients, except the egg, into a food processor and blend until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add one beaten egg gradually until it forms a ball. If you've used one whole egg, but it still needs help, a few drops of cold water should do it.

Remove from the processor and kneed gently. Then wrap in cling film and refridgerate for 1/2 hour. Remove, then roll the pastry out, cut using a round cutter, line a buttered patty cake tin fill with mincemeat then, using either the round cutter or a star cutter, make the top.

Paint the beaten egg lightly on top of the pies and place in a preheated oven, 175 degrees for approx 15 minutes. Remove when golden and leave to cool. Best eaten with a dollop of cream (maybe even with a drop of brandy and icing sugar mixed in).


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