Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas to all

Classic minced Pies - a Christmas tradition  in Britain

Another last minute Christmas bake, the classic minced pies. This is traditionally served as sweet pastry during the festive season in UK. The history of this little minced pies dated back to the 13th century. Detail can be found here. Again I took some short cut, buying store bought pre-prepared luxury mincemeat.
So I better start baking to bring some over to my friend's for Christmas Eve dinner this evening...

Minced Pies

Bought the mincemeat from Mark & Spencer  

  • 1 jar of high quality mincemeat (around 350g)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 75g ground almond
  • 125g butter (unsalted)
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • Some milk for glaze
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Adding zest of 1 orange to the mincemeat

  1.  Lightly butter a 12-hole pie or patty tin. Tip the mincemeat into a bowl and mixed in the zest of 1 orange. Set aside
  2. Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a mixing bowl. Use rub in method by hand until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add in the egg and mixed well . Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour or so.
  3.  Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press gently into each hole, then fill with the mincemeat.Cut out another 12 slightly smaller discs and use to cover the mincemeat. Press the edges together to seal. Make a small slit in the top of each, then brush lightly with milk. 
  4. Chill for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C (fan assisted).
  5. Bake the pies for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and serve warm
Filling the mincemeat into pastry 
Out from oven-still bubbling hot

Flaky short crust pastry with the lovely mincemeat....yummy

So I wish all my readers Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays. Enjoy the minced pies with some mulled wine.

The end result....ready to go...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Classic Christmas Fruit Cake

Classic Christmas Fruit Cake
With the Christmas festivities just around the corner (to be precise in 2 days time), I must be honest, I haven't done much really in the baking department. I was planning to bake Christmas fruit cake back in October but my procrastination takes the better of me. Two weeks ago I was grocery shopping and noticed on the shelf they stock ''Christmas fruit cake ingredients in a bag'' for 3 quid only.  The instructions on the bag seems easy to follow, so without hesitation I bought one. What an excellent deal! 
So my quest for baking perfect Christmas fruit cake begin..... so what's in the bag :
  1. 2 kgs of mix dried fruits[sultanas, raisins, candied orange peel, glaced cherries etc]  pre-soaked in brandy (luxurious)
  2. 275 g brown sugar
  3. 225 g plain flour
  4. 1 tsp mixed spice
  5. 50g chopped almonds
  6. 1 tbsp black treacle
  7. 1 sheet of marzipan (which I discard)
  8. 200 icing sugar (which I discard)
  9. 1 tbsp of apricot jam (which I discard)
The other ingredients which I have to supplement are 4 eggs, 210g butter, zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon. And of course some brandy to feed the cake every 2 weeks.... 
This classic cake can easily be stored up to 4 months...

The ingredients


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 120C (fan assisted). Prepare a 18cm round  baking tin. Cut out double layer of parchment paper to line the base and side of the tin. Also cut out a double layer as cover for the top.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until creamy. 
  3. Then beat the 4 eggs lightly and pour the eggs slowly and continue to mix. Do not pour the egg all at once to prevent curdling of the mixture. If this happen, just dust the mixture with some flour and continue to mix.
  4. Then add lemon zest, orange zest, black treacle,  mixed spice, chopped almond and dried fruit. Carefully fold in. Mixed well.
  5. Then fold in the flour and mix. Pour into the baking tin and level carefully. Cover the top with parchment paper.
  6. Bake the cake for 4 - 4.5 hours on the lowest shelf.
  7. After 4-4.5hours, remove cake from oven and let it cool in the tin for an hour.
  8. Once cool, use a skewer/little knife to prick the cake, feed brandy into the cake.
  9. Use new parchment paper to wrap the cake and a tin foil to wrap in and store in air tight cake tin.
Enjoy the cake and Merry Christmas.........

The mixture

Ready to go into the oven

Luxurious fruit cake