Mince Pies

Pastry Ingredients
250 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
50 g icing sugar
125 g good-quality unsalted cold butter , cut into small cubes
1 large free-range egg , beaten
a splash of milk
For the Pies
200 g good-quality mincemeat
1 large free-range or organic egg
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
icing sugar , for dusting
I put together my pastry in a food processor. Weigh your flour, icing sugar and and butter and mix together in the processor. Then add a large egg, bring together again. Add a dash of milk to bring to a consistency you are happy with.
Chill in clingfilm for 30mins.
Preheat the oven to 180ºc and grease a shallow cupcake tray lightly with butter. Dust a clean surface and rolling pin with flour, then roll half the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin. Carefully cut out 12 circles with a pastry cutter, then lay them in the hollows of the tray, I use a muffin tin, and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness. Using a smaller cutter than before, cut out another 12 circles – these will be the lids for your pies.
Take the pastry bases out of the fridge and fill them just over halfway up with mincemeat, I use Tesco Finest, then smooth the filling out to the edges.
Beat the egg and milk together, then brush over the top edges of the pastry. Lay the lids over the top, then crimp the edges together with your thumb and forefinger so the lids stick to the bases. Then brush once more with the egg wash. Bake in the hot oven for around 25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked through and golden on top. Dust with icing sugar before serving, then dig in.

Teacakes

500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g salt
60g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter, softened
300ml cool water
Vegetable oil for kneading
2oog Mixed Dried Fruit
1 egg beaten, to glaze
 
1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, sugar and cinnamon to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter and three-quarters of the water, and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
 
2. Coat the work surface with a little vegetable oil, then tip the dough onto it and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5-10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
 
3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour, but it’s fine to leave it for 2 or even 3 hours.
 
4. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment or silicone paper.
 
5. Tip the dried fruits on top of the risen dough in the bowl and start working them into it. After a minute or two, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the fruit is thoroughly mixed in.
 
6. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each into a ball, then use a rolling pin to flatten each out to a round bun, about 1cm thick. Brush the teacakes with the beaten egg. Transfer to the prepared baking trays, spacing them apart.
 
Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rise for about an hour until the teacakes are at least doubled in size. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 200°C.
 
Bake the teacakes for 10-15 minutes until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Lemon Meringue Pie

PASTRY

250 g plain flour , plus extra for dusting
50 g icing sugar
125 g good-quality unsalted cold butter , cut into small cubes
1 lemon, zest
1 large free-range egg , beaten
a splash of milk
23cm flan tin
Sieve your flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. work the cubes of butter into the flour and sugar. Add the lemon zest and mix again.
Add the egg and milk to the mixture and gently work it together using your hands until you have a ball of dough.
Put it into the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Roll out your pastry to 0.5cm thick. Ease the pastry into the tin. Trim off any excess by running a knife along the top of the pastry case, then prick the base of the case all over with a fork and pop it into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
Bake blind for 10 minutes in your preheated oven. remove the baking beans, then return the case to the oven to cook for a further 10 minutes until it’s firm and almost biscuit-like. Leave to cool.
FILLING
3 lemons, zest and juice
30g cornflour
100g golden caster sugar
1 Orange
85g butter
3 free-range egg yolks plus 1 egg
Mix the cornflour, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Strain and stir in the lemon juice gradually. Make orange juice up to 200ml/7fl oz with water and strain into the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth. Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Beat the egg yolks (save white for meringue) and whole egg together, stir into the pan and return to a medium heat. Keep stirring vigorously for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens and plops from the spoon. (It will bubble, but doesn’t curdle.) Take off the heat and set aside while you make the meringue
MERRINGUE
4 egg whites, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
2 level tsp cornflour
Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add half the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating. Whisk in the cornflour, then add the rest of the sugar as before until smooth and thick. Quickly reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case. Immediately put meringue around the edge of the filling (if you start in the middle the meringue may sink). Pile the rest into the centre, spreading so it touches the surface of the hot filling (and starts to cook). Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured.

CHOCOLATE & PECAN TWISTS

Ingredients
Rough Puff Pastry (see Recipe)
Custard (see recipe)
2 tbsp ground almonds
50g dark chocolate chips
25g pecan nuts, chopped, plus a few extra for sprinkling
2 tsp icing sugar
 
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Roll the pastry then turn so one of the longest sides is towards you, and imagine you’re going to fold it in half like closing a book. Mix the custard with the ground almonds.
Spread the custard mixture over one half of the pastry, then scatter over the chocolate chips and chopped pistachios. Fold the other half of the pastry over the top. Cut into 6 strips, so each one has the fold at one end. Gently twist each strip a few times – this bit can be messy! Space the twists on the prepared tray, then put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Egg wash the twists.
Sift the icing sugar over the twists and scatter with a few more chopped pecans. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp.
 
Custard Ingredients
570ml/1 pint milk
55ml/2fl oz single cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, yolks only
30g/1oz caster sugar
2 level tsp cornflour
Method
Bring the milk, cream and vanilla to simmering point slowly over a low heat.
Whisk the yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl until well blended.
Pour the hot milk and cream on to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time with a balloon whisk.
Return to the pan, (add vanilla extract if using) and over a low heat gently stir with a wooden spatula until thickened.
 
Rough Puff Pasty Ingredients
250g strong plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250g butter, at room temperature, but not soft
about 150ml cold water
Method
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely. You need to see bits of butter.
Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.
Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑