Cakes & Bakes: Luxury mince pies

Home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home #recipe #mincepies #baking #ChristmasRecipe #pastry #pie

My home-made luxury mincemeat has been ‘resting’ nicely for a month. It’s now just about ready for me to make my first batch of mince pies.

Making pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

We’ve got the luxury mincemeat, so how about a bit of luxury pastry too?!

Filling pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

I’ve gone for a buttery shortcrust pastry flavoured with almond. The flavours work so well together – and make for the perfect Christmas treat.

Plate of luxury mince pies and mug of tea in front of the fire | H is for Home

Compliment them with a cup of tea or glass of mulled wine, comfy chair and real fire (sleeping dog optional). It’s what Christmas (in fact, winter in general) is all about for us.

Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for later!

Luxury mince pies
Yields 12
    For the pastry
    1. 180g/6⅓oz plain flour
    2. 70g/2½oz 'tant pour tant' (35g/1¼oz icing sugar + 35g/1¼oz ground almonds)
    3. pinch of salt
    4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter, cubed
    5. 1½-2tbs cold water
    6. A little beaten eggHome-made mince pies ingredients
    Add ingredients to shopping list
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    Instructions
    1. Put the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine
    2. Add the butter and pulse again until you get to the fine breadcrumb stage
    3. Whilst still pulsing, add the ice cold water until the mixture begins to get lumpy - like dry scrambled eggs
    4. Empty ⅔ of the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
    5. Form the dough into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film. Repeat with the remaining ⅓ of the pastry
    6. Chill in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour
    7. Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
    8. Grease a 12-hole or two, 6-hole muffin tins
    9. Lightly flour your work surface, remove your larger ball of dough from the fridge, unwrap and divide it into 12 equal pieces (about 20-22g each)
    10. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into perfect circles with a cookie cutter (or upturned drinking glass if you don't have one) that's slightly wider than the hole of your muffin tin. **Rolling each pie case individually means that you don't overwork the pastry by re-rolling over & over again**
    11. Gently press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin holes (handy hint: use a small lump of pastry to do this if you have long fingernails!)
    12. Spoon mincemeat into each pastry case and press down gently to level. Don't overfill
    13. Get the smaller batch of dough out of the fridge and again divide into 12 equal pieces (about 11g each)
    14. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. I used a star-shaped cutter but you can make other Christmas-y shapes like holly leaves, snowflakes, fir trees and the like!
    15. Top each pie with the shaped pastry before brushing the tops with a little beaten egg
    16. Bake for 12-15 minutes
    17. Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
    18. Put on a cooling rack or serving plate and sprinkle/dredge with icing sugar
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    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

    Cakes & Bakes: Pear Galette

    Home-made pear galette with ice cream | H is for Home #recipe #baking #cooking #cookery #dessert #pastry

    This week, we’ve watched the first in Rick Stein’s new series, Rick Stein’s Road To Mexico. His first port of call was California where he met up with Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse. While there, one of her chefs was filmed making a rhubarb galette – it looked amazing. It’s no longer rhubarb season, so I’ve made a pear galette instead.

    Sweet galette pastry | H is for Home

    I much prefer rustic, unfussy food like this to haute cusine with all its foams, purées and the like. A galette is just the kind of rustic dessert I crave on a cold autumn evening. A circle of sweet pastry covered with in-season fruit and roughly folded in on itself, free-form.

    Cored pears | H is for Home

    Instead of a pear galette (or rhubarb), you could make one with stone fruits such as peaches, plums, nectarines or apricots. How about apple & pecan, fig, blueberry or cherry?

    Sliced pears tossed in Demerara sugar | H is for Home Laying sliced pears on pastry round | H is for Home

    A savoury galette with autumn & winter vegetables is also a great idea; carrots, beetroot, caramelised onion… with cheeses and/or herbs – the variations are endless!

    Pear galette brushed with melted butter | H is for Home

    It’s such an easy, versatile dish to prepare and cook – pastry with whatever meat, veg or fruit that you have to hand.

    Sliced home-made pear galette | H is for Home
    Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest!

    Pear Galette
    Serves 8
    For the pastry
    1. 320g/11oz plain flour
    2. 2tbsp caster sugar
    3. ¼tsp salt
    4. 115ml/4fl oz cold butter, cubed
    5. 4tbsp cold water
    For the filling
    1. 2 dessert pears
    2. 3tbsp Demerara sugar
    3. 2tbsp fine semolina
    4. 25g/1oz flaked almonds
    5. 2tbsp melted butterHome-made pear galette ingredients
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    For the pastry
    1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, caster sugar and salt
    2. Using a food processor (on pulse) or hand pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until the butter is evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces
    3. Add the cold water all at once
    4. Pulse until it begins to come together
    5. Empty the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
    6. Form the dough into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film
    7. Flatten the dough into a disk inside the cling film and chill in the fridge for at ½ to 1 hour
    8. Once chilled, preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6
    For the filling
    1. Core & evenly slice the pears and put them into a medium-sized mixing bowl
    2. Sprinkle over 2tbsp of the Demerara sugar and toss to cover the pear slices evenly
    To finish
    1. Tear off 2 sheets of parchment paper of at least 35½2 (14"2)
    2. Roll the dough out between the two sheets into a 30cm (12") circle
    3. Slide the dough on to a baking tray
    4. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle the semolina evenly over the top of the dough
    5. Lay the slices of pear on to the top of the dough in a circle - leaving a 2cm/¾" gap from the edge. Make the slices slightly overlap and ensure you cover the entire surface
    6. Sprinkle over the remaining tablespoon of the Demerara sugar and the flaked almonds
    7. Fold the edge of the pastry over, making sure you overlap it on to itself as you go around
    8. Brush the melted butter over the crust edge
    9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown
    10. Slide the parchment with the galette on to a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes before consuming
    Notes
    1. Serve warm with cream or ice cream
    Print
    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

    Cakes & Bakes: Fig rolls

    Home-made fig rolls | H is for Home #recipe #baking #cooking #cookery #figs #figrolls

    A biscuit recipe twice in as many weeks. We’re on a roll! This week, I’ve made a batch of delicious fig rolls… nothing like those dry horrors you tend to get in the shops. The pastry is buttery, crumbly and melt in the mouth; the filling is sweet, figgy and boozy – just lovely!

    Fig roll filling

    Jacobs is the brand that most people in the UK associate with fig rolls. Americans have Fig Newtons and the French, Figolu.

    Strips of pastry | H is for Home Lines of fig filling on pastry | H is for Home

    There’s a fair amount of debate online on the subject of, “Fig rolls: slice before or after baking?”. I decided to conduct my own experiment to find out.

    Fig rolls before going into the oven | H is for Home

    I’ve decided that I prefer them to be sliced before. The pastry is neater and the fig filling softly oozes using this method.

    Cooked fig rolls

    Disagree with my opinion? Have a look at my photographic proof below! The two on the left were sliced prior to cooking and the pair on the right, after.

    Fig rolls: left, sliced before cooking - right, sliced after cooking | H is for Home

    If you’ve given industrially manufactured fig rolls a try, not liked them and have turned your back on them – try making your own. Believe me, you’ll wonder what took you so long to embrace them!

    Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for future reference.

    Fig rolls
    Yields 16
    Cook Time
    20 min
    Cook Time
    20 min
    For the pastry
    1. 125g/4½oz plain flour
    2. 75g/2⅔oz plain wholemeal flour
    3. 25g/¾oz ground almonds
    4. ½tsp baking powder
    5. 2tsp caster sugar
    6. Pinch of salt
    7. 140g/5oz cold butter, diced
    8. 1 egg yolk
    9. 2tbsp milk
    For the filling
    1. 200g/7oz dried figs, stems removed, roughly chopped
    2. Juice of ½ a lemon
    3. 2tbsp dark rum
    4. 2tbsp water
    5. 2tbsp muscovado sugar
    6. ½tsp mixed spice
    7. 1 egg, beatenHome-made fig rolls ingredients
    Add ingredients to shopping list
    If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
    For the pastry
    1. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl or food processor
    2. Pulse/rub in the butter to make crumbs
    3. Mix in the egg yolk and just enough milk to bring it together into a coherent dough
    4. shape into a rough rectangle, wrap and chill for about ½ an hour
    For the filling
    1. In a small saucepan, bring the figs 2 tbsp water, 2tbsp dark rum, lemon juice, sugar and spice to a simmer. Cook gently for a few minutes until softened
    2. Remove from the heat and allow to cool
    To combine
    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
    3. Lightly flour a work surface and roll the pastry out to around 20cmx30cm and ½cm thick. Cut in half lengthwise to make 2 long strips
    4. Put a line of filling down one side of each, leaving a slight gap between it and the edge
    5. Brush the edge with water and fold the pastry over the top of the filling pressing down gently to seal
    6. Cut into 4cm lengths and arrange on the baking sheet
    7. Brush the tops with beaten egg before baking for 20-25 minutes until golden brown
    8. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating
    Print
    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

    Price Points: Marble pastry boards

    Marble pastry boards | H is for Home

    If, like me, you’re an avid home baker, you’ll know that there’s always another piece of kitchen kit that you really, really need in your quest for perfection. Assorted tins, bannetons, scrapers & cutters, a grignette, a peel, baking stone or steel… the list is never-ending.

    I’ve been watching lots of YouTube videos to hone my dough kneading technique. I’ve noticed how effortless it looks when people handle & shape their dough using marble pastry boards; especially those really loose, wet ones like ciabatta. It’s also good for (as the name suggests) rolling pastry. That sealed it, my next bit of baking equipment is going to be one of those marble pastry boards – the larger, the better.

    1. Typhoon marble 40x30cm rectangular work surface protector: £16.00, Tesco
    2. J by Jasper Conran – white marble pastry board (42x28cm): £30.00, Debenhams
    3. Marble board – dark or light colour by Marbletree (60x40cm): £69.00, Notonthehighstreet

    Cakes & Bakes: Mushroom pasty

    Home-made mushroom pasty made with sourdough pastry | H is for Home

    I’ve been wondering for ages what I’d choose for this week’s Cakes & Bakes recipe. You see, it’s Sourdough September and I wanted to make something more than a just a plain sourdough loaf. I’ve come up with a mushroom pasty recipe using sourdough pastry.

    Sourdough September logo #SourdoughSeptember

    I only feed my sourdough starter in the summer months – our old, stone house just isn’t conducive to developing the warmth-loving wild yeasts for much of the year. When the temperature drops and the wood-burning stove needs to be sparked up, I store a small batch of starter in the freezer to revive again the following year.

    Sourdough starter | H is for Home Sourdough starter | H is for Home

    This sourdough pastry recipe is very similar to plain shortcrust pastry but the taste is so much better – and it’s more buttery and flakier too.

    Sourdough pastry ingredients | H is for Home Sourdough pastry ingredients | H is for Home

    I’m sure some Cornish people and other pasty aficionados will be up in arms with my mushroom pasty recipe. However, I’m vegetarian and a meat pasty isn’t tempting. I used Rustica mushrooms. However, you can use any kind – button, woodland, chestnut, wild… add a handful of garden peas if it takes your fancy. I used Maris Piper potatoes, but as with the mushrooms, it’s down to personal preference or what’s to hand. Also, a bit of onion, garlic and fresh thyme.

    Cooked mushrooms and potato | H is for Home Cooked mushroom and potato mixture | H is for Home

    We have some 20cm/8-inch starter plates that are the perfect diameter for a pasty pastry cutter. Just roll out the pastry, place a plate on the top and cut around it with the tip of a sharp, pointy knife.

    Circle of sourdough pastry | H is for Home Filling a circle of sourdough pastry | H is for Home

    I picked up a(nother!) tip from Nadiya Hussain for making pasties. Use the tip of the self-same knife – this time, the un-sharp side of the blade – to just gently push the pastry inwards at 1cm intervals to crimp.

    Uncooked mushroom pasty | H is for Home

    The recipe made 6 pasties; I cooked off half of them for immediate consumption – and put the other three into the freezer for a later date. They were truly delicious. Justin and I agree that this pastry is one of the best – if not THE best I’ve ever made – and the simple combination of flavours in the filling worked brilliantly too. 

    Two freshly-cooked mushroom pasties on parchment paper | H is for Home

    Click here to save this mushroom pasty recipe to Pinterest for later.

    Mushroom pasty
    Yields 6
    Made with a delicious, buttery sourdough pastry!
    Cook Time
    30 min
    Cook Time
    30 min
    For the pastry
    1. 185g/6½oz plain flour
    2. 1tsp salt
    3. 225g/8oz very cold butter, cubed
    4. 225g/8oz cold sourdough starter
    5. a little beaten egg to glaze
    For the filling
    1. 250g/9oz potatoes, cubed
    2. 30g/1oz butter
    3. 2 medium onions, finely chopped
    4. 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
    5. 250g/9oz mushrooms, sliced
    6. sprig of thyme
    7. salt & ground black pepper to tasteHome-made mushroom pasty ingredients
    Add ingredients to shopping list
    If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
    For the pastry
    1. Sieve the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor
    2. Scatter the cold, cubed butter over the top of the flour mixture and pulse a few times until the butter breaks up into small chunks
    3. Spread the sourdough starter over the top of the flour/butter mixture
    4. Pulse again until the mixture just starts to clump together a bit, but is still crumbly. The dough should feel like it will stay together if you pinch it with your fingers
    5. Lay out two strips of cling film at right angles to each other and empty the pastry mixture into the middle
    6. Bring the mixture together using the lengths of cling until it just about comes together into a ball. Quickly flatten the ball into a round, wrap and chill for an hour in the fridge
    For the filling
    1. In a medium-sized saucepan, just cover the potatoes with cold, salted water and bring to the boil for 5 minutes
    2. Using a colander, strain the water away
    3. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat
    4. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until they're soft but not browned
    5. Add the mushrooms, thyme and salt & pepper and continue to sweat until the mushrooms have softened
    6. Strain any liquid away (or you can reserve this to make a mushroom sauce using a dash of cream)
    7. Mix the potatoes into the mushrooms until well combined
    8. Set the mixture aside to cool
    To finish
    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
    2. Divide the pastry into 6 equal pieces. Put five back into the fridge to keep cool while you make the first pasty
    3. Form the pastry piece into a round and roll out on a floured work surface
    4. Place a side plate on to the pastry and cut out a circle
    5. Spoon some of the cooled mushroom filling into the centre of the pastry
    6. Brush around the edge of the circle with water, carefully fold the pastry over into a semi-circle - keeping the filling away from the edge
    7. Gently press the edges of pastry together before crimping
    8. Repeat this process until you have used all the pastry and filling
    9. Put the pasties on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops with a little beaten egg
    10. Bake for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown
    11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before eating
    Print
    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

    Cakes & Bakes: Apple and raisin puff pastry tart

    Slice of apple and raisin puff pastry tart with vanilla ice cream | H is for Home

    We are ‘pudding’ rather than ‘starter’ people and always have a sweet ending to our daily evening meal.

    Soaking raisins in tea | H is for Home

    Sometimes, I’ve got to the day and haven’t had the time to make a dessert. At times like this, there are a few quick sweet dishes that can be rustled up in about half an hour. One such is jam and coconut slice which is one of Justin’s favourites from his childhood – and also great for using up pastry scraps.

    Putting apple and raisin filling on to ready-made puff pastry | H is for Home

    Another is an apple and raisin puff pastry tart – using a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, of course.

    Putting ready-made puff pastry lid on apple and raisin tart and brushing with melted butter | H is for Home

    All it takes is a couple of cooking apples – peeled, cored and chopped; a handful of raisins (pre-soaking them for an hour makes them more juicy and adds another layer of flavour – strong tea, brandy or armagnac perhaps – so recommended but not a necessity if your in a rush); a pinch of ground spice and aforementioned packet of puff pastry.

    Home-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart | H is for Home

    Delicious served with cream, creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

    Click here to pin the recipe for later!

    Apple and raisin puff pastry tart
    Serves 4
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    20 min
    Total Time
    35 min
    Prep Time
    15 min
    Cook Time
    20 min
    Total Time
    35 min
    Ingredients
    1. 75g/2⅔oz raisins
    2. 2 Bramley (or other cooking) apples
    3. 20g/¾oz butter
    4. 50g/1¾oz demerara sugar
    5. ¼tsp ground cinnamon
    6. 1 packet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastryHome-made apple and raisin puff pastry tart ingredients
    Add ingredients to shopping list
    If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
    Instructions
    1. Soak the raisins in a cup of hot, strong black tea for at least an hour
    2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
    3. Peel, core and rough chop the apples
    4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter
    5. Add the chopped apples, soaked raisins, sugar and ground cinnamon
    6. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the apple just begins to soften
    7. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into two equal lengths
    8. Grease a 20cm/8-inch round or square baking tin and lay one of the lengths of pastry evenly into the tin allowing some overlap over the edge
    9. Spoon the apple and raisin mixture evenly on to the puff pastry
    10. Lay the other length of pastry over the top and brush with a little melted butter
    11. Sprinkle a tablespoon or so of golden granulated sugar over the top if desired
    12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the puff pastry is a lovely golden brown
    Notes
    1. Serve with vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream
    Print
    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/