Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sundays with Chef Peter….

Hello there daahlings, how are you this fine Sunday, I do hope that you are fabulous as usual.

Firstly a big congratulations to Monica the BOSS of the blog for being nominated as contender for “Top Expat Blog of the Year”, congratulations Monica, I know how much passion you have put into the Yum List and thank you for letting me be part of it, fingers crossed you will win!

And my dears, you can all help Monica by going to the following link and writing nice comments about the Yum List….

I have been travelling a little by air this week around Asia and have come to the conclusion that it is no longer really any fun, crowded airports, endless immigration queues with not very welcoming officers manning them, even if you fly business class the lounges seem overcrowded and not what they were, what happened to all the delicious selection of free drinks on offer, replaced by a can of beer or a glass of cheap plonk and a packet of crisp! Once upon a time travelling was elegant and fun where people used to dress up for a journey, now it’s all “comfortable clothing” what you’d wear for watching TV…..!

Anyway enough of my moaning, on to the food, and as were nearly at the end of November and Christmas is just around the corner, I thought today I would share one of my Christmas recipes with you for Mince pies.

A mince pie, also known as minced pie, is a small British sweet Pie traditionally served during the Christmas Season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices. Early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with supposed Catholic "idolatry" and during the English Civil War was frowned on by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pie in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom and indeed across the world.

Ideally the mixture is best prepared prepared a while ago so it can be left to mature, my mother would have normally made her mixture around July/August time along with the Christmas cake and puddings and then store it in an airtight container in a cool place. I make it around one or two months before when I have a spare moment before the Christmas rush. When at the Savoy in London we used to make buckets of the stuff as every banquet around the Christmas period had mini mince pies served as petit fours. I used to love the first the mince pie of the season, fresh from the oven. You just knew Christmas was here!

It is very simple to make, all you need is:

1,135 grams Granny Smith Apples (cut small dice ½ cm)   
560 grams Suet (fresh cut small dice ½ cm)
460 grams Dark Raisin  
460 grams Yellow Raisin
210 grams Orange Peel
50 grams Lemon Peel
1,135 grams Currants   
340 grams Brown Sugar  
8 grams Salt 
6 grams Clove
6 grams Nutmeg
10 grams Cinnamon
150 grams Rum
6 pieces lemon juice & zest

Once you have prepared the ingredients, simply put them in a bowl and it all a really good stir.

I just put it all in the mixer and let it mix well for 5 minutes on a slow speed.

Place it in an airtight container and keep in a cool place till ready to use.
I like to make my mince pies with sweet paste but some people prefer short or even puff pastry, it depends how rich you like your pies. I like the sweet paste as it gives the pies a nice crumbly texture.

My sweet paste recipe is:
250 grams Butter
125 grams Icing Sugar
2 pieces Eggs
375 grams Cake Flour
Vanilla pod or essence

1.      Cream together butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence (if using pod cut lengthways, scrap out seeds and add) until the mixture is smooth and pale.
2.      Add the eggs a little at a time and beat well between each addition.
3.      Add the flour and carefully blend into the soft dough.
4.      Wrap in plastic film and flatten out. Chill until firm before use, overnight is best.
If you don’t like to have so much pastry then make a large tart topped with a nice lattice.
Mince pies also freeze well so can be made in advance, wrapped well and frozen, taking out as required.

Of course, mince pies are best served with brandy butter which is easily made by putting equal quantities of butter and icing in a kitchen aid and creaming together and then adding brandy to your desired strength! I always add a little cream to finish it off.
The Brandy butter can also be made well in advance and stored in the fridge. When ready to use simply remove and bring to room temperature.

Homemade mince pies also make, placed in a nice basket or box, make an excellent gift for Christmas with a jar of your brandy butter!
That’ll get your office party going!

If you have any questions on the above, don’t hesitate to send me a comment daahlings.

Till Next Week.......Happy Baking!



  1. THANX for the recipe. Gonna make them for Christmas! Some home made ones will be a lovely touch to CHristmas this year.

  2. Oooo...the pies look great. Not making any this year, I guess. By the time we get home from my daughter's convo, very near Christmas already...

  3. Thank you so much for the recipe! =)

    I remember how M&S would sell many boxes of ready-made minced pies during this time of the year.

  4. Aw! Thks for the beautiful recipe! It's very tempting indeed!