I HAVE made my mince pies and put them in the freezer – it’s good to be prepared at this of year.
There is so much to do, extra trips to town shopping for gifts, extra trips to the supermarkets to spread the spend, wrapping, writing cards, trees, trips to Santa, giving the kids all the magic and then trying to keep them calm as Christmas is still more than a week away.
I love mince pies but find the traditional are either a little dry or have too much pastry and so today I made up two different ones. Feeling inspired by recipes from Greece I made baklava but using mincemeat and of course lots of nuts, breadcrumbs, local honey and citrus zest and juice. I also made pin wheels, it’s easy to make lots quickly and I topped them with a very British crumble to finish the look.
Pin wheel crumbles
A sheet of good quality full butter puff pastry
A jar of good quality mincemeat
4 oz butter
3 oz soft brown sugar
3 oz flour
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs sunflower seeds
Open the sheet of puff pastry leaving it on its paper and spread with the mincemeat, you need a good even, thin spreading.
Fold over the long edge closest to you an inch and press down, then using the paper roll up the pastry into a firm roll and place into the freezer for half an hour as this will help you cut them neatly.
To make the crumble put the butter, sugar, flour and seeds into a bowl and using your fingertips rub all the ingredients together to form soft, slightly doughy bread
Remove the mince pie roll from the freezer and cut neat discs about 2 cm thick and place on a baking tray. Top generously with the crumble mix. This is where I have stopped and put them back in the freezer covered with cling film until I want to bake.
To bake place them from frozen into the oven at 160°C for about 20 mins, they need to be well cooked as the middles are moist from the filling but once out of the oven remove them from the baking tray immediately and put them on a cooling wire or they will stick solid to the base as the sugar will have caramelised and believe me you could hammer the baking tray to the wall as installation art and they would not fall off!
They are delicious eaten still warm from the oven or gently re-heat and serve with vanilla or brandy cream.
Baklava mince pies
Take a sheet of filo pastry and brush with melted butter, place another on top and repeat a couple of times.
Spread with quality mincemeat, a sprinkle of nuts and the zest of a citrus fruit. Repeat this until you have three full layers of multiple filo and the mince meat, nut layer and bread crumbs, easily made by whizzing a couple of slices of stale bread. Finish with a filo layer.
Take a shape knife and cut into squares or traditional diamonds. They can be frozen at this stage. Bake in the oven for 15 mins or until golden brown. In a saucepan heat 4oz of honey with the juice of one lemon and one orange, bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes, pour the liquor over the crisp filo, hear the crackle, top with a sprinkle of nuts and or breadcrumbs and place back in the oven for another 7 minutes.
Allow to cool in the tray before using a spatula to remove. Delicious of course with cream, custard or just as they are.