There is nothing like homemade mincemeat during the holidays. I always make a big batch in the holidays and I use it for all sorts of things. It comes in really handy for mince pies, cakes, pastries, breads etc. The nicest thing is to be able to use your own homemade mincemeat for these things. That way you can control the kinds of fruit you use. I also like to add some flaked almonds to mine.
Another thing that helps is having a really great tin to bake your mince tarts in. this traditional mince pie and tart pan from the Bakeramics Bakeware range from Eddingtons is my favourite baking tin to use. This pan successfully combines classic design with the latest technology in PFOA-free super slick, non stick ceramic coating
It is perfect for making shallow rounded base mince pies and jam tarts just the way they used to be made! It can also be used for canapés, tiny quiches or even Yorkshire puddings.
I love the red coloured base, which makes it stand out from all of my other tins and makes it very easy to find in my baking cupboard. Things cook evenly in it and are really easy to release, even sticky things like mince tarts!
Another plus is that it is dishwasher safe, which makes for a really simple and easy clean up afterwards.
I really love how my tarts turned out this year. I used some little mini cutters to make steam vents in the centres and then placed the cutouts on top of the pies at angles which added to their cuteness I think!
They were really pretty with a dusting of icing sugar, which adds just that extra special little touch!
*Homemade Mincemeat*Makes approximately 1 pound
(enough for approximately 3 dozen mince pies)
A delicious blend of dried fruit, nuts, spices, brown sugar and brandy. (I use apple juice)
150g of currants(1 cup)
125g of raisins (3/4 cup packed)
25g of blanched almonds, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
1 knob of preserved stem ginger, finely chopped
1 eating apple, peeled and grated
50g of shredded beef or vegetable suet (1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
the finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 TBs brandy
1 TBS dark muscovado sugar
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside for at least 12 hours to macerate.
*Rich Sweet Shortcrust Pastry*makes 1/2 pound
The best way to make shortcrust pastry that has a crisp crumble in the mouth texture is to do it by hand, rather than by machine. Using a machine tends to overwork the gluten in the flour and the pastry has a tendancy to end up springy and shrink when cooked.. Resting the pastry for a half hour in the fridge is also an important step because of the high proportion of butter to flour, which makes it difficult to roll out when warm.
280g plain flour (2 cups)
4 ounces cold butter (1/2 cup)
6 TBS icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
2 TBS water
Sift the flour into a basin. Add the butter, cut into pieces and rub it into the flour until it resembled fine dry bread crumbs. Add the icing sugar. Whisk in well. Make a indentation in the centre of the butter mixture. Beat the egg yolks and water together. Pour into the indentation and then, using a fork, mix together to a rough dough in the basin. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and then place into a zip lock bag. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, while you make the filling. Proceed as per the recipe requirements for whichever recipe that you are using to fill the tart with.
I have some really lovely tins this year to store my Christmas Baking in. This set of 3 storage tins from Eddingtons is designed to fit 15cm, 20cm and 23cm diameter cakes (6”, 8” and 9”)and features a contemporary Christmas design of holly and mistletoe leaves
They are made from good quality tin and nest inside each other for compact storage
It is recommended that you handwash these tins. They also come in a variety of patterns. They make excellent Christmas Baking Gift tins also. I don't know anyone who would not welcome a lovely tin of homemade baking, especially when presented in lovely tins like these!
Something else which I have been enjoying using are these lovely copper cookie cutters! Also from Eddingtons, they are available in a variety of styles and shapes. I love the heartshaped one with the handle for holding. Perfect for my Christmas Lebkuchen. (Watch for a recipe soon!) The snowflake and snowman cutters are perfect for all your roll out needs. These are especially nice when layered with the smaller cut sandwiched on top of the larger one for a really special effect. And . . . just saying, they look really lovely hung on the tree with a pretty ribbon. They really are excellent cutters. I can't wait to show you what I did with them, but I wanted to give you enough time before Christmas to pick up your own so watch this space for more on them next week.
Altogether my Christmas Baking has been really sorted this year thanks to Eddingtons and their quality bakeware and utensils.
You can buy the Bakeramics 12 cup Mince Pie tin at Online Kitchenware for the price of £10.10. They offer same day shipping and free UK postage.
You can buy the set of cake tins at Online Kitchenware also, for the price of £13.30 Once again, any orders placed before 1 pm are shipped on the same day and there is free UK postage.
The copper cookie/biscuit cutters are available from Stuff For The Kitchen. Prices and styles vary.
Another dish I have enjoyed using over these past couple of months is this lovely Wade Ceramics 10" Oval Baker Dish. This ceramic oval baker's dish is perfect for baking a homemade pie as the ceramic dish heats evenly creating an overall even bake. The dish design allows you to serve at the table straight from the oven. It is microwave, oven, dishwasher and freezer safe. It is available from Harts From Stur at a price of £15.99.
It's great for pies but I have also been enjoying using it with casseroles. Everything baked evenly and it has a nice deepness to it. It cleans like a dream.
Many thanks to Eddingtons for sending me these to use. Eddingtons are purveryors and suppliers of quality kitchen merchandise. They pride themselves in finding fun, innovative and practical kitchen and housewares that are just that little bit different