dinsdag 22 december 2009

Oh the weather outside is frightful....

Doesn't the snow just adds to the feel of Christmas like nothing else, despite an actual 'White Christmas' being few and far between. I remember as a child it was rather more common, as the other song goes "just like the ones I used to know". Perhaps that 's why I suddenly got the urge to run into the kitchen late yesterday evening to bake my mince pies. Well it certainly wouldn't be Christmas without them!
Mince pies:
Mince pies are not available in the supermarkets here and anyway shop bought mince pies are ok but are nothing compared to the homemade version. It is actually so easy and such a joy to do.
We are actually spending Christmas day here and traveling across to the UK on Boxing day (weather permitting I must add).
I was lucky enough to have some mincemeat on hand but if you haven't it is easy enough to make. This looks just as good as anything around, if you cannot get access to suet or choose to make vegetarian no worries, look here.
I couldn't resist 'tarting' my mincemeat up: a handful of roughly chopped nuts here, and a good dash of cointreau there, not forgetting a heaped teaspoon of speculaas for added spice. Oh it was so fragrant, almost homemade!
I used a pretty standard pastry, preferring shortcrust over flaky/puff.
300 gram plain flour, pinch salt
150 gram butter
4 or 5 heaped tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
little water
egg white with a little icing sugar for glazing.
I jar 410gr mincemeat
optional: few walnuts, speculaas, good dash of cointreau.
Icing sugar for dusting
Makes 18 mince pies.
The secret for good crisp pastry as everyone knows is to handle as little as possible and use very little water.
Rub the butter in the flour, stir in the sugar. Add the egg yolk and a very little water just enough to bring the pastry together (it should still be very crumbly). Place in the fridge for as long as you can (ideally 2 hours). Mine got 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven 190C. Grease your tin.
Roll out and cut out with pastry cutters or glasses. Size: 8 and 6.5cm.
Re-roll any 'trimmings'. You should aim for 18. Push the pastry 'bottoms' into the tins gently. Fill with mincemeat. Moisten the edges of the 'lids' and press firmly over the mincemeat sealing the edges. I cut the shape of a star and made two 'vents', this allows the heat to escape. Otherwise they may burst open.
Beat the egg white with a little icing sugar and glaze the pies. You could just use water or milk of course.
Cook them for around 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve warm with a dollop of cream, brandy butter or some Dutch vla.
I had a little mincemeat over so decided today to make some more! A Brit can never too many mince pies in the home at Christmas.
This time I made the half and used part whole meal flour (volkoren) and added some dried cranberries and a dash of brandy.
I also omitted the egg. They were quite delicious, the pastry was so light. Beautiful and rather rustic looking. See picture above, front right front.
More pictures of the snow:
On the road:
The proof Holland is flat:
And yes we do have windmills:

4 opmerkingen:

  1. The look lovely, Vanessa! I have never made mince pies, but your post is getting me itchy to make some! Do you make a fruitcake, btw?

    Oh and I just love the snow! I'm hoping it won't turn into rain come Christmas! We've been going for these wonderful evening walks- so festive!

  2. I have never yet made a Christmas cake, my mum always does and that is easier. I mostly spend Christmas in England and it weighs a ton- I would be paying excess baggage if I took it with me!

    I hope you have been working up an appetite during your walks ;-)

  3. Why did I never get to try one of your mince pies, they look so yummy ?

  4. I think you were already in England? Sorry they are now all eaten- even the ones I put in the freezer but I can make some more if you like?