dinsdag 24 december 2013

A very merry christmas, here's a christmas gift for you!

Merry Tuesday!

Oh no :( I started writing this post on my iPad and accidentally deleted everything half way through...

Still, I wanted to wish you a very merry christmas now, since tomorrow you'll all be having a wonderful day with your families!

Traditions vary from country to country and from family to family. In my family we really enjoy our breakfasts, we set up our christmas tree right after Sinterklaas has left the country on the 6th of December, we like to go to the church at christmas eve to listen to the beautiful music and we love to bake. A lot. Our kitchen was filled with the best smells today, my mom made a berry cheesecake and a zucchini layer cake with cream-cheese frosting (i helped here and there), and I made mince pies.

Now mince pies are not really a Dutch tradition, I guess it is British. But as you know I am a bit of a youtube addict and I have been watching Sorted Food, Zoella, Tanya Burr and many more give these treats a try so I wanted to follow in their footsteps. As our shops don't sell the filling pre made I had to make everything from scratch. To be honest, the first batch was not great. But that was to be expected  because I'd never tried one. The second batch however was absolutely lovely!

So here my christmas gift to you: 

My mince pies

my mince pie recipe.

500g of dried fruits (apricots, prunes, raisins, cranberries, anything you like!)
75 g dark brown sugar
60 ml red port
Juice and zest of one orange
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1 tsp of cinamon
60 ml of brandy
1 tsp of vanilla
2 tbs of honey

350 g of flour
225 g of cold and diced butter
100 g of sugar
1 egg
The zest of one orange
 A pinch of cinnamon

Mini-quiche or muffin tins

Now for the filling, I chopped up all of my dried fruit first while I heated up the port with the sugar and the spices, then I put all of the fruit in the warm mixture and I added the juice of both the orange and the lemon plus the zest. Then I let that simmer away for about 30 minutes, it has to start looking a bit jammy (if not, don't worry, there is always the blender!). At this point I added the brandy, the vanilla and the honey and I gave it a nice stir, the I let it cool. You really want a soft and mushy texture with not too many large pieces.

Pre-heat the oven at 220C.

For the pastry it is most important to have things COLD (oh baby it's cooooold outside!). Put the diced butter in the flour and use your fingertips to combine both and create a sandy texture. Then I turned the mixture from the bowl onto a flowered surface, I added the zest, sugar, cinnamon, and the egg and a mixed everything together. Try to do this as quick as you can and try not to overmix the mixture. When it has formed a ball, split it into two smaller balls, cover them in clingfilm and pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes. 

Roll out one of the dough-balls and cut circles that will fit your muffin tins. When you have finished doing that, pop the whole tin in the freezer! It will help make the dough nice and crispy. After 10 minutes take them out and fill them with the jammy mixture. Before you do, make sure you taste it to see whether you like it. You might want to add a bit more lemon juice to cut through the sweetness of the dried fruit, or add a bit more brandy to get everyone a bit more cozy and cheery ;). Then from the rest of that dough-ball cut smaller circles to cover the top and use a little star-shape to cut out a little whole in the lid. (From half of the dough I got 12 pie-cases plus lids and I kept the other half in the freezer for later use.) Cover the pies, use a fork to stick the bottom and the top together on the edges, brush the top with some egg or some milk and sprinkle over some sugar. Put them in a pre-heated oven at 220C for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle them with some icing sugar and ta-daaaaa!!! Some really tasty treats for you to enjoy while watching a christmassy movie!

Please let me know if you gave them a try, and if you have had real mince pies before, let me know if my recipe lives up to the original! 

Have a very merry christmas, I hope you're all surrounded by lots of friends and family members and that you don't have to worry about a single thing.

Lots of love,

Me and Joost

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