The cakes I bake and the books I read while baking them.
After practising making pastry by making an apple pie, I finally decided to get into the Christmas spirit and make some mince pies. I’ve been saying for the last few years now that I’ve wanted to make my own mince pies and here we are!
This was incredibly easy, much more so than I thought it would be! It’s cheaper to buy shop bought ones when you consider you spend over a pound on the mince meat alone, but still, it’s nice to get your hands dirty and create something!
Things you will need:
255g plain flour
6 tbs cold water
1 jar of sweet mince meat
a sprinkle of icing sugar
A cake tin.
This made nine mince pies, I suppose you could make more smaller ones or perhaps, increase the mixture and make loads! You could also substitute water for milk, but as I’ve recently discovered that I’m lactose intolerant, which sucks but does mean I’ll be making more dairy free treats in the future, I thought I ought to limit the amount of dairy I was ingesting with these. Also – I chose a jar of sweet mince meat that was vegetarian, not all the jars were so if you’re cooking for veggies, make sure you check your jars!
You will also need the book of your choice, I was reading the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry which gave me one hell of an existential crisis.
Firstly, get your cake tin, by cake tin I mean the ones with the little individual dents in for cup cakes, and grease it, you don’t want your pies getting stuck in there.
Measure out your flour and your butter, cut the butter into easy to manage chunks and put into a bowl with your flour, now, with clean hands, rub the two together until you end up with something that resembles breadcrumbs. Add your milk/water and stir in using a knife until you start to get a dough of sorts, this is where you will need to start kneading and shaping it with your hands.
Sprinkle some flour on a work top, drop your dough on there and give it a bit of a squish and generally pull it about a bit, but not too much, you don’t want it to get all tough. Once it is even in colour and you’re happy with it, roll out using a rolling pin to your desired thickness. Get yourself something circular, either a pastry cutter or a cup, up to you and place your circular bits of pastry into the greased indents on the cake tin. Make sure you shape them out using your fingers so that they resemble pie cases and then roll out your left overs for pie tops.
Repeat the above step with the cutter/cup and leave aside.
Open your jar of mince meat and put a spoonful into your bases, cover each one with a top and using a fork, press down the ends so that the top and the base stick together. Prick a few holes in the top too for ventilation. At this point, you could glaze the top with any left over milk if you like, but otherwise, you’re good to go. Put them in the oven on 180 degrees for about half an hour and get stuck into your book.
After half an hour of reading about a pensioner trying to walk from one end of the country to another and reliving every mistake he’s ever made along the way, check on your pies, they should be nice and done by now, take them out of the cake tin gently, they should come away easily but they will be hot and place on a plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar to taste and voila! Merry Christmas to you too!