I’ve discovered The Great Blogger Bake Off a few months ago, started by another blogger and I loved it. I couldn’t take part as I didn’t see it in time and with the house move (and renovating), it would have been impossible to bake something every week.
At least I could participate to the Great Blogger Bake Off Christmas Special: mince pies. I intended to make them a few days in advance, just in case something goes wrong and I have enough time to make them again. It was the first time I made mince pies and I’ve already said I was going to make them… the pressure was on.
I’ve made my recipe after a couple of hours of research: Apple and cranberries mince pies.
Well, as last week I’ve been to Ascot from Wednesday to Sunday, I had no time to bake. The last couple of days I was very busy too, so I did nothing in advance. It was annoying to have to wait for the mincemeat to cool. I wanted to bake the pies, but buttery pastry and warm filling is not a good idea. A good part of taking on an challenge is that I can practice things that I’m not good at, like… patience.
Ingredients for mincemeat – Apple and cranberries mince pies:
– 200g cranberries
– 200g mix of dried fruits
– 1 orange (only the zest)
– 50g sugar
– 25g muscavado sugar
– 1 Bramley apple
– 60ml red wine (I’ve added another 100ml before using the mincemeat)
– 25g grounded almonds (grounded at home, in bigger bits, as I prefer them that way)
– mix peel
– cinnamon, nutmeg and clover
Put the wine, white sugar, zest from the orange, apple and cranberries on the hob at a low heat, stirring occasionally. Leave it on the hob for 8-10 minutes.
When the fruits were almost cooked, add the rest of the sugar, the dried fruits, the spices and the grounded almonds.
The mincemeat is done. Before using it, I’ve added another 100ml red wine as I felt it’s not moist enough.
Ingredients for the pastry – Apple and cranberries mince pies:
– 250g plain white flour
– 1 egg
– 50g sugar
– 1 orange
– 100g butter
Mix the butter with the flour using the hands until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar, the beaten egg and the zest from the orange. I’ve mixed the ingredients with a spoon, as I don’t like to use the mixer for dough.
I’ve kneaded the dough very quickly on the worktop. I left it to cool in the fridge for half an hour.
Finally I could start to make the pies. The dough was better than expected. It’s the first time that I’m using orange zest and I was concerned it can be too wet. But the dough was so easy to work with, had a very nice texture.
The oven was preheated at 200 C and at this temperature it takes around 20 minutes to bake the pies.
Dust them with icing sugar.
Some of them were a little overdone as I made an error, I’ve put 2 trays in the conventional oven instead of using the convection oven.
I’m very happy with the mince pies. They are very tasty and they look beautiful.