Tag Archives: dried fruit

How to make delicious mince pies

how to cook delicious mince pies fanny and brenda style

 

Well! I don’t often say it but Brenda has come up trumps with her fantastic mince pies. Like you, I know she’s a ghastly old curmudgeon but underneath that hideous exterior lies an ability to cook well when she makes the effort.

We are now in the run up to Christmas and time is short. The mincemeat is now made and the pastry (see previous post) is ready so it’s really a case of compilation.

Take about a quarter of the puff pastry (about 250g) and roll it out. Roll it pretty thin. We can’t bear thick pastry – it is the case but it’s not the filling too!

Take a greased muffin tin and place the pastry within each holder.

At this point Brenda had a brainwave and added a small ball of marzipan to each pie, placing it in the centre. The marzipan was left over from the christmas cake (recipe forthcoming!) and it’s a delicious addition. Place the mincemeat around the marzipan, and then add the pie topping. Apply some egg wash and then place it in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°c /350°f.

Serve with some lovely double cream with added lemon zest and grand marnier and frankly you will never want to eat a commercial mince pie again!

If you are thinking of leaving mince pies out for some gaudily dressed and rather overweight bearded old man who may want to pop down your chimney then may I suggest leaving a few of these mince pies under the christmas tree. Of course he will probably be unable to go back up your chimney as these mince pies are delicious so if you hear the front door slam in the middle of the night don’t be too surprised.

how to cook delicious mince pies fanny and brenda style

Christmas Cake – Part 2 -The Bake

Okay so you have macerated your dried fruit and left it for a few days to soften in the licquor. You will find that all the licquor will have been absorbed by the fruit and it will be glowing and shiny. Instead of stuffing it down your mouth (Fanny often gives in to temptation at this point unless I am there glaring at her!) we think that you would be better advised putting it straight into the cake mixture. So why not watch our demonstration on the video to get a good idea of what is needed next.

Ingredients

300g plain flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
300g butter
300g soft brown sugar
4 large eggs
50g chopped almonds
1 dessertspoon black treacle
grated rind of 1 lemon
grated rind of 1 orange

christmas cake by fanny and brenda

Baking Day

Preheat the oven to a 130°C. We cook at a lower temperature for a more even cook. The cake should not be dry.

Place the treacle somewhere warm to increase its runniness as it’s easier to manage that way.

Grease a large cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl you want to sieve the flour and mix in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixd spice together.

In another bowl cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Make sure it is light and fluffy – this is the cake mix and you don’t want a heavy lumpen cake!

Beat the eggs and add gradually while beating to the cake mix.

Once the egg has been added, add the spices and flour by folding it in carefully.

The add your fruit, nuts, treacle and peel and stir in.
christmas cake by fanny and brenda

Spoon the mixture evenly around the cake tin and then place in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

Do not check on the cake until late into the bake.

Take out of the oven and wrap well in the greaseproof paper .

Once cooled place it in an airtight container.

Some people inject it with more alcohol over its maturing period.

We will come to the subject of icing nearer Christmas.

Christmas Cake -Part 1- Preparing the fruit

Now that autumn (fall) is well underway it’s time to think about the Christmas cake as it is best made a few weeks before the big event to allow the fruit within to mature, allowing that wonderful fruity plum flavour to develop.

xmas cake cooked properly with fanny and brenda

Christmas cake is easily ruined and there are plenty of examples of awful make do commercial ones out there. Equally, there are some good ones so why bother? Well Brenda and I like to create something big to share and we like it with a substantial brandy input. We present a four part video, two of which will come out over the next few days and then we concentrate on the marzipan and icing at maturation, about a week or two before Christmas. It’s actually reasonably quick to make once you have portioned out all the ingredients. For this part of the recipe here they are:

Ingredients for the fruit mix in Fanny and Brenda’s Joyous Christmas cake

450g currants
175g sultanas
175g raisins
50g glacé morello cherries
100g mixed peel
25g cranberries
1 tbspn glacé ginger
40g dried apricots
50g chopped dates
2 chopped figs
50g chopped prunes
50cl 40% brandy

Method

Portion out all your fruit as above
Place in bowl and stir into each other
Add the brandy
Cover with some cling film and leave to macerate for a couple of days.