It's already past New Year but I'm still doing Christmas post. I am so behind. Ahaha~~ I've been rather busy lately and when you're busy, time seems to pass so quickly. Moreover, this year's Chinese New Year comes rather early. So it's one festive after another. I have to start my CNY bakes soon. This year, my pineapple tarts, peanut cookies and cornflake cookies are on sale. I don't have New Year resolutions because I can't keep them. I just hope that I can spend more time with my kids and that I can earn some extra income (私房钱) from my bakes. Oh, and that I don't put on anymore weight.
Back to the mince pies. Mince pies are eaten traditionally during Christmas and New Year period. It has its origin from the British. For further reading, please see here. Traditionally, it has raw mincemeat (usually beef) but considering our humid weather here, I do not believe or trust marinating raw meat in alcohol for 2 weeks outside the refrigerator. My fridge space is limited, I omitted meat altogether. I usually have a one litre jar of dried fruits and citrus peel, macerated in liquor all year round. Whenever I needed to bake something with dried fruits, it comes in very handy.
These mince pies were a last minute, ad-hoc decision. IH said his grand-dad's mince pies were to die-for. He used to work as a cook for a British family. I have not tasted his version so I wouldn't know (it may be an overrated comment from IH. Oops, okay, I'm being mean) but it is welcomed challenge. I remembered Sweet and Simple Bakes provided a mincemeat recipe some time back. The original recipe requires soaking raw apples in liquor for 2 weeks. I adapted the recipe and cooked the apples and macerated fruits instead. With the amount of liquor the fruits had absorbed, it might be too strong on the palate if I didn't cook them. Mine is more of an 'Instant' method and here's what I did.
For Mincemeat :
350g Dried Fruits (macerated in liquor), drained
250g Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced finely
90g Candied Ginger Dices
80g Brown Sugar
1-1/2 Tsp Mixed Spice
3/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Orange
Zest of 1 Lemon
Zest of 1 Orange
1. In a pan, fry the apples and dried fruits together slightly. Add in the rest of the ingredients in (A).
2. Continue to fry till ingredients are slightly dry. Stir in zest. Turn off the flame and stir in butter thoroughly. Leave aside to cool.
For Sweet Crust Pastry :
125g Butter, bring to room temperature
100g Icing Sugar
2 Egg Yolks, chilled
50g Ground Almonds
250g Cake Flour
Zest of 1 Orange
1. In a bowl, using a hand whisk, whisk butter and icing sugar till pale and fluffy. Add in egg yolks.
2. Add in zest, ground almonds and flour till it forms a dough. Transfer the dough into a ziplock bag, flattened and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.
3. Divide the dough and press into tart tins, leaving some aside for the top. Rest for 15 minutes. Blind bake (use pie weights) at 200 deg.C for 10 minutes. Remove pie weights and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes or till browned. Leave aside to cool.
To Assemble :
1. Fill up the pastry cases with mincemeat. Roll out pastry dough and cut into circles. Lay the cut outs on top of the mincemeat. Press slightly at the seams and trim away excess if necessary.
2. Bake at 200 deg.C for 15 to 20 minutes or till evenly browned. Leave on the cooling grid to cool before sprinkling snow powder or icing sugar and decorate.
Verdict : IH said not quite the same but close enough. The flavour is affected by the absence of meat. Well, not that I care, I love my version. If I didn't check myself, I could have 3 at one go! Good thing it is usually eaten during Christmas. But wait, I still have dried fruits... hmm...