Salter challenged me and other food bloggers to make some tasty mince pies. My plan was to get the little ones to help so that if they went horribly wrong I could always blame them. I have never made mince pies before but thought it would be something fun to attempt and it also meant I could keep the little ones busy baking which they love. To help me make the mince pies Salters sent me two items:
A Heston Blumenthal Dual Platform Precision Scale
This comes in a protective box and is very compact for easy storage.
How great does it look!
This is easy to clean (always good when you cook with children) and you can weigh straight onto them or use a bowl (it depends on what you are weighing).
A Heston Blumenthal Precision Adjustable Rolling Pin
This is easily adjusted to allow the user to obtain different thickness of pastry / icing. The rolling pin is very easy to adjust, you simply unscrew the end and remove the discs that are to large for the pastry height required.
Makes approximately 22
For the Mince
2 tbsp Amaretto
60ml Ruby Port
90g Dark soft brown sugar
300g Fresh cranberries
0.5 tsp Freshly ground clove (approx 6-7 cloves)
1tsp Ground Cinnamon
180g Mixed dried berries (I combined dried raisins, sultanas, blueberries, cranberries and cherries make sure none of them are sour)
The zest and juice of 1 orange
5 drops of almond essence
1 tsp Vanilla essence
3 tbsp runny honey
For the Pastry
330g Plain flour
80g Cold butter
Juice of 1 orange
Pinch of salt
Measure out the port in a pan.
It’s great that you can simply switch from weighing in ml to g with the push of a button.
Change the scales to measure in g and then weight the sugar straight into the pan with the port! The scales are very precise which I love.
Simmer until the sugar dissolves then add the fresh cranberries, the dried berries, cinnamon, clove, zest and juice of 1 orange.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. The cranberries will pop as they cook, squash the ones that are still whole.
When cooked stir well and allow to cool a little before adding the amaretto, brandy, honey, almond and vanilla essence. This needs to be cold when added to the pastry cases so it’s best to make and chill in the fridge at least a day before although if stored properly it should last up to two weeks.
To make the pastry, measure out the flour, chop the trex and butter into small pieces and cover with flour then pop it and the rolling pin into the fridge for about 20 minutes. Whilst the flour and fat mix is in the fridge cut the orange and juice. Add the salt to the juice and pop this in the fridge too.
After the flour and fats have chilled pour them into a mixer and mix until it looks like crumbs. Then slowly add the orange juice until the dough begins to just stick together (you may not need it all).
Combine the dough then remove about a quarter and use the rest to make the pastry cases.
To do this, unscrew the end of the cold rolling pin and put the 3mm depth guide so that you can roll out the pastry evenly. I used a cupcake tray and cut out the rounds using a cutter that is larger than the wells in the tray. Put the rounds in each well and press well so that it comes up a little over the edge. Remove the 3mm guide so that you have just a flat rolling pin and roll out the remaining pastry. Cut out a shape to place on top of each mince pie. I decided that snowflakes would be appropriate as the weather forecasters have been warning that snow may be on it’s way. Add the mince to each pastry case and then top with your chosen shape. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes in a fan assisted oven at 200 degrees, 220 in a normal oven.
When cooked remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a cooling rack.
Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving (Sift this through a sieve over the mince pies).