It’s nearly December, Thanksgiving and even ‘Black Friday’ are behind us and it’s been a good couple of weeks since Regent’s Street put their lights up. Whether you like it or not, the run up to Christmas is well and truly here – so why not make it tasty with your own mince pies (well, our mince pies, but you can make them at home) and here’s how:
Makes 16 big mince pies or a few more smaller ones
For the mincemeat you will need:
75g mixed peel
300g grated apple
40g flaked almonds
150g soft dark brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
For the pastry:
375g plain flour
260g unsalted butter - softened
125g caster sugar
1 large egg
This couldn’t be simpler. Put all of the ingredients for the mincemeat into a big bowl and give it a good mix around. Put it into a Tupperware box (other storage boxes are available – probably) and leave it for as long as you can – at least a week, but the longer the better.
For the pastry, put the flour and butter in a bowl and mix with your fingers until they resemble bread crumbs. Add the sugar and egg and mix until combined. If it’s looking a bit dry, add a touch of water or orange juice if you want an orangey tinge to your pastry – not too much mind. Empty onto a floured surface and finish off the mixing until you have a smooth pastry. Wrap in clingfilm (other wraps are available – probably) and put in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
Alternatively, put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz. You have less control this way, but it is quicker and easier. Still wrap it and chill in the fridge.
To assemble, roll the pastry out to about 2 or 3 mm, cut to size and place in your tins. Put a generous amount of filling straight onto the pastry. Cut the lids however you would like. I like it so that the lid doesn’t completely cover the filling allowing it to bubble over in a rather attractive way, but that’s just me. Brush the top with a little egg and sprinkle some more caster sugar.
Place in a preheated oven at 200 fan or 220 conventional for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool before releasing from the tin and tucking in or they might stick a little and you will burn your mouth. You have been warned. Serve and enjoy.
There are mulled wines from all over the world, but try Glögg – Norway’s offering into the mix. There are as many different recipes for Glögg as there are households in Norway – and this is one of them. Remember it’s really cold in Norway, so this extra boozy offering really does warm you up from the inside. Give it a try:
1 bottle of red wine – something with quite a lot of body
200 ml Port
100ml vodka, or brandy if you must
8 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick – broken in 2
Peel and juice of 1 large orange
400g Muscovado or another soft brown sugar
Put everything into a big saucepan and bring to the boil. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then reduce to a simmer for 3 minutes or as long as you want. If it’s still a bit strong for you, carry on simmering or add some more water until it’s just how you like it. If you like a big old boozy kick, save 20ml of the vodka/brandy and add it after you have turned off the heat. Please enjoy (responsibly).