Friday, December 21, 2007
Mummy's very special mince pies
What you see above may look like a perfectly innocent mince pie. I'd go further. It actually looks like rather a dull mince pie - no pretty star shaped tops or fluted edges. But wait! Remember - beauty lies within. The pastry top conceals a rather scrumptious filling of mincemeat topped with a cream cheese mixture that is far more delicious than it may sound. But things get better. You see this is no ordinary pastry. This is orange pastry. It is a little tricky to work with but it really is worth it - wonderfully crumbly, very Christmassy and perfect with the filling.
My mother made these mince pies some years ago. Strictly speaking they are not 'her' mince pies, but Josceline Dimbleby's. But I always think of them as hers. In my mind they are far superior to the normal kind though I do make 'normal' ones too so that I can make pretty star-shaped tops and use them as a vehicle for brandy butter.
WARNING - the orange pastry is SO delicious that it is difficult to resist eating the lot raw, before it is cooked. Perhaps you should make a little extra to account for this!
Mince Pies de luxe
(recipe taken from Josceline Dimbleby's 'Christmas Book')
For orange pastry -
500g plain flour
175g icing or caster sugar
finely grated rind and juice of one large orange
For filling -
250g full fat cream cheese (it is Christmas, after all)
50g caster sugar
milk, to glaze
Caster or icing sugar to decorate
1. Sift flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub these into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Stir in the grated orange rind and finally the juice, a little at a time, until the mixture sticks together and you can form a ball.
3. Pat into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Mix together cream cheese and sugar. Set to one side.
5. On a floured surface, knead pastry lightly and then roll out rather more thickly than you would usually. The pastry is very crumbly and rather sticky and quite tricky to work with so go carefully and BE PATIENT (something I am not, but it is worth it).
6. Cut out rounds with a 3 inch pastry cutter and line greased mince pie tins with these disks.
7. Fill to half depth with mincemeat and then top with a teaspoonful of cream cheese mixture -
8. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out tops with a 2-inch cutter. Moisten the edges with water and place on top of filled bases, pressing lightly to seal.
9. Brush tops with milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
10. As the pastry is so crumbly, allow these to cool in the tin before very gently easing from the tin with a rounded knife.
11. Serve warmed in the oven and sprinkled with icing sugar.