Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Things to do with mincemeat.....2008

Firstly, in case you want even more ideas, things I did with mincemeat last year can be found here!

As ever, my glorious mincemeat was made by the CCM’s (Caked Crusader’s Ma) own fair hand using Delia Smith’s recipe. To quote Bruce Forsyth, “didn’t she do well?”

This year I have used mincemeat in three ways and although all three use shortcrust pastry and mincemeat, they all somehow taste different.

To start, here are star topped mince tarts. These are quite traditional but by having less pastry on top, they are lighter and allow the mincemeat to take a starring role.

Is it just me, or can anyone else see that the way the star drapes over the mincemeat looks just like Patrick Star (of Spongebob fame) lying on top of his rock? You have no idea how much time I spent surfing the net for a picture of Patrick on his rock to prove this but couldn’t find one.

The reason I started thinking about Patrick was because the first star cutter I used looked more like a starfish. You can see it in this photo – it’s the middle one in the far left column:

I find these pretty. I like the clean, unfussy lines of them:

The second way of using mincemeat came from one of my Swiss cookbooks and I’ve never seen the idea anywhere else – mincemeat rolls:

You roll shortcrust pastry out into a rectangle, completely cover it with mincemeat and then roll it up. After chilling (the mincement roll, not you!) it cuts beautifully into slices and you bake it.

Here they are raw ...ok, I realise they look like Vincent Van Gogh threw a wild party and everyone got carried away!

The third version is frangipane topped mince pies. This is a standard mince pie but instead of a pastry top, the tart is given an almond sponge layer.

These were very popular and the combination of mincemeat and frangipane worked brilliantly. I expected the mincemeat and frangipane to stay separate layers but you can see from this photo that they melded together to create a gloriously succulent filling:

The CCM's mincemeat is juicy stuff - just look at the plump fruit waiting to burst with sweet goodness when eaten:

Shortcrust pastry recipe

For the shortcrust pastry (I found this amount makes approx 16 tarts but it depends on how thick you have the pastry and the size of your bun tin etc):
230g plain flour
160g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons icing sugar
2 egg yolk

How to make:
- Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs either using your fingertips, or a food processor.
- Add the icing sugar and stir in.
- Add the egg yolk and bring the dough together until it is smooth, glossy and soft.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before you need to use it – this relaxes the dough and stops the cooked pastry from shrinking.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Do not eat yet – it’s raw!

Star topped mince pies

Shortcrust pastry – recipe set out above. 1 quantity will yield approx 16 tarts
8-10 tablespoons mincemeat (approx half a tablespoon for each tart)
Splash of milk, for glazing
2 tablespoons golden caster sugar

How to make:

- Use the appropriate amount of the shortcrust pastry (recipe above) for how many tarts you wish to make.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- If you trust the non-stick of your patty tin there is no need to grease it as the pastry contains so much butter. If in doubt I’d say you’re best off greasing it as it would be too heartbreaking to ruin your tarts getting them out of the tin.
- Roll the pastry out between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 0.5cm.
- Using a cutter cut out 16 pastry discs and line the patty tin. Re-roll the pastry as required – it’s quite good natured and will take many re-rolls.
- Spoon the mincemeat into the pastry discs. The mincemeat bubbles when it cooks so to keep the pastry edge nice and clean don’t put too much mincemeat in. I found half to three quarters of a tablespoon was ideal.
- Cut out stars and top each mince pie with one.
- Brush the stars with milk and then sprinkle over the golden caster sugar.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and looks cooked.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing the mince pies. This is because the pastry is fragile on coming out of the oven.
- Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.
- These will keep for a week in an airtight tin.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Mincemeat rolls

Shortcrust pastry – recipe set out above. 1 quantity will yield 2 rolls from which you will get approx 20 slices)
1 jar of mincemeat (standard jam jar size)

How to make:

- Use the appropriate amount of the shortcrust pastry (recipe above) for how many rolls you wish to make.
- Cut the pastry in two as it is more manageable to roll out a smaller amount.
- Roll the pastry between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 0.5cm thick. Try to roll it so you end up with a neat rectangle.
- Spoon mincemeat all over the pastry leaving a gap on the long edge.
- Roll the pastry up using the paper to help you.
- Wrap tightly in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Repeat with the other piece of pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line two biscuit trays with baking paper.
- Remove the mincemeat roll from the fridge and cut into slices 1-1.5 cm thick. I found that a serrated bread knife gave the cleanest cut.
- Place the slices on the baking trays a little apart. They will expand on baking but not much.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked.
- Cool for 10 minutes on their trays before using a spatula to transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.
- These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

Frangipane mince pies

Follow the ingredients and method for the star topped mince pies set out above but, before baking make the frangipane topping.

For the frangipane topping:
100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g ground almonds
1 level tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
For decoration: handful of flaked almonds

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Follow the recipe for the star topped mince pies until you have the pastry cases filled with mincemeat in the patty tin.
- Now make the frangipane topping. Place the butter and sugar in the food processor and blend until soft and creamy.
- Add the eggs and blitz some more until well combined.
- Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract and blitz again.
- Spoon the frangipane onto the mincemeat and then, if desired, scatter some flaked almonds on top.
- Bake for approximately 2o minutes or until the pastry and frangipane look golden and cooked.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


J.Danger said...

Dang it! I literally just got home from the grocery store. They had mincemeat on sale 10 for $10 and I wanted to get it so bad, but I had no idea what to do with it! Maybe I will go back now...thanks!

Ling's Passion said...

I like the cute mince pie with little star on top. Wishing you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Big Boys Oven said...

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!you better make sure you don't get too busy in the kitchen yeah, busy roasting your turkey, stuffing etc yeah, relax and have a good joyly time!
Have a great New Year too! xxx Sidney & Sunny!

Katie said...

Your mincemeat bakes look wonderful. I love the idea of the rolls. Have a great Christmas

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Quite innovative thought of making mince meat pies...looks great.
I would also like to wish you Merry Christmas and wonderful ushering into new year 2009.

Hippolyra said...

I once made mincemeat Madeleines - make them like plain ones and just poke some mincemeat into them!

Anonymous said...

I can definately recommend you try mince meat baklava next time, with the pastry layers, mincemeat and sugar and pistashio/walnut layer. Then drizzle with the honey/sugar/lemon syrup, flavoured with cinnamon and either rose or orange water. Very yum :)

Y said...

Crazy but true, I haven't had a mincemeat tart yet this year! I have a lot of catching up to do!!

Starr said...

Hi - found your blog though Foodbuzz. I'm not a huge fan of mincemeat, but I do LOVE to put it in my oatmeal cookies. It's something I remember my grandfather doing, and I've been doing it for years. YUM!
Your mincemeat creations look divine too!