Luxury home-made mincemeat

Jars of home-made mincemeat | H is for Home #recipe #Christmas #ChristmasFood

Many people don’t like thinking about Christmas until the beginning of December – I know I don’t! However, there are a few things that need to be prepared well in advance for them to be at their peak for the big day. Christmas cake, sloe gin, piccalilli  and home-made mincemeat are just a few.

Home-made mincemeat mixture | H is for Home

I’m very fussy about my mincemeat; I don’t like it to be overly citrusy – so, very little orange or lemon zest & juice and no mixed candied peel. In addition, it needs to be veggie – so can only contain vegetarian suet. The only way to ensure it tastes the way I like it is to make it myself. A very easy job and well worthwhile. It works out much cheaper than the cost of ‘luxury’ jars of the stuff in supermarkets. Once made, potted up and put away correctly, it stores unopened for years!

Home-made mincemeat mixture being decanted into jars | H is for Home

Save my luxury home-made mincemeat recipe to Pinterest!

Luxury home-made mincemeat
Ingredients
  1. 200g/7oz currants
  2. 200g/7oz raisins
  3. 200g/7oz sultanas
  4. 100g/3½oz dried cranberries
  5. 100g/3½oz figs, roughly chopped
  6. 100g/3½oz prunes, roughly chopped
  7. 30g/1oz blanched almonds*, roughly chopped
  8. 1 medium cooking apple, peeled, cored & finely diced
  9. 300g/10½oz muscovado sugar
  10. 200g/7oz vegetable suet
  11. zest & juice of 1 lemon
  12. 3tsp mixed spice
  13. ½tsp cinnamon
  14. ¼tsp nutmeg
  15. 6tbsp rum or brandy
  16. 100g/3½oz butter, cubedHome-made mincemeat ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients except the alcohol into a large saucepan over a low heat
  2. Stir to ensure the contents are well combined and the suet and butter have melted (about 10 minutes)
  3. Allow to cool completely before stirring in the alcohol
  4. Decant into sterilised jam jars - gently bang the bottom of each jar to fit as much of the mincemeat in as possible.
  5. Seal the jars immediately and store for at least a month before use
Notes
  1. *To blanch almonds, put them in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 1-2 minutes before draining through a sieve. Pat them dry on some kitchen paper or clean tea towel. You can quickly get the skin off one by one by pinching the broader, rounded end of the nut
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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: Plum pie

Slice of home-made plum pie | H is for Home

British Pie Week has rolled around once again – an annual event in which we enjoy getting involved in wholeheartedly!

Cubed butter, and flour in a food processor next to a bowl of plums | H is for Home

I use the week as an opportunity to make a kind of pie that I’ve never made before. This year it’s a home-made plum pie.

Making a sweet crust pie base | H is for Home

I used one of my favourite sweet pastry recipes that I borrow from Dorie Greenspan, pairing it with a James Martin spiced plum filling recipe from in a 2008 copy of BBC Good Food Magazine.

Cooking plums | H is for Home

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of cloves, but it works amazingly well with the plums.

Uncooked plum pie | H is for Home Cooked plum pie | H is for Home

A drizzle of pouring cream or ladle-ful of custard over the top or on the side… a perfect cold weather pudding!

Home-made plum pie with serving spoon | H is for Home

Click here or on the image below to pin the recipe for later!

Home-made plum pie recipe | H is for Home #BritishPieWeek #pie #recipe #plums

Plum pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 750g/oz ripe plums stoned & thickly sliced
  2. 140g/oz golden caster sugar, plus extra
  3. ½tsp ground cloves
  4. 1 heaped tbsp cornflourHome-made plum pie 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. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Put the plums, sugar and ground cloves in a pan
  2. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and the plums are juicy (8-10 minutes)
  3. Combine the cornflour with a little of the syrup, then mix well into the fruit
  4. Boil for another few minutes, stirring until thickened
  5. Allow to cool completely
  6. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  7. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little beaten egg
  8. Make a slit in the pastry lid to allow steam to escape
  9. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through the slit in the crust
  10. Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing & serving
Notes
  1. Serve with pouring cream or hot custard
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Blueberry pie

Slice of home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

It’s been almost six months since I last posted a pie recipe on Cakes & Bakes. I’ve righted that wrong this week with a blueberry pie.

Blueberry pie pastry dough | H is for Home Uncooked blueberry pie pastry case | H is for Home

Blueberries, sugar & spice | H is for Home

My recipe is a hodgepodge of three others. The blueberry pie filling is from my vintage 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, Dinner for Two; the sweet pastry is from Dorie Granspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and the crème anglaise is from that catering college staple, Ceserani & Kinton’s Practical Cookery.

Blueberry pie pastry case and sugared blueberries | H is for Home

Much as I enjoyed this bake, if I were to make another blueberry pie, I’d do it a little differently.

Home-made blueberry pie and lid | H is for Home

Firstly, the blueberry pie filling was WAY too sweet for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn’t have tasted so sweet if the pastry I’d used had been just a plain shortcrust.

Uncooked home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Secondly, the filling recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon; Justin liked it, but it just didn’t work for me.

Crème Anglaise ingredients | H is for Home

Thirdly (and lastly), I had my first slice with crème anglaise and my second (not straight after, obviously 🙂 ) with double cream. I much preferred the latter version.

Home-made blueberry pie | H is for Home

Perhaps I’ll test my 3rd portion with vanilla ice cream – all in the name of research on behalf of our readers, of course!

Blueberry pie
For the pastry
  1. 400g/14oz plain flour
  2. 120g/4oz icing sugar
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 250g/9oz very cold butter
  5. 2 egg yolks
For the filling
  1. 125g/4½oz caster sugar
  2. 30g/1oz plain flour
  3. ½tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 375g/13oz blueberries
  5. 2 tbs butter
For the crème anglaise
  1. 300ml/½pt milk
  2. 25g/1oz caster sugar
  3. 2 egg yolks
  4. 2-3 drops vanilla extract (I used ¼tsp vanilla bean paste)Home-made blueberry pie 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. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
  2. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
  3. Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
  4. When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
  5. Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
  6. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
  7. Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
  8. Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
  9. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
  10. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
  11. Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
  12. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
For the filling
  1. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon
  2. Stir in the blueberries
  3. Turn into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter
  4. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
  5. Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little milk
  6. Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through slits in the crust
For the crème anglaise
  1. Boil the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Allow to cool a little
  2. Mix yolks, sugar and vanilla in a basin before adding to the milk
  3. Put the saucepan back on a low heat and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the desired thickness. Do NOT boil
  4. Pass through a fine sieve into a serving jug
Print
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Spiced apple & sultana pie

Home-made spiced apple sultana pie | H is for Home

We’re coming to the end of British Pie Week so we’re getting involved again and making a pie.

Sliced ball of shortcrust pastry

At the mere mention of the word ‘pie’ we usually get involved – any excuse! Yes, the saying may go, “As American as apple pie”, but we’re famous for our apples here in Blighty – and have no doubt been using them in pies for centuries.

Peeled, cored and chopped apples

We’ve rustled up a spiced apple & sultana pie for our Cakes & Bakes post… it’s quite a comforting, wintery version of the simple classic.

Saucepan of chopped apples and Muscovado sugar

Crisp, buttery pastry with a soft, warm, cinnamon-infused fruity filling… and finished off with thick, cold cream of course.

Trimmed shortcrust pastry pie base

You might have a bit of pastry left over – if you do, don’t just bin it, use cutters to turn it into shapes or letters to adorn the top.

Home-made spiced apple sultana pie top

The perfect, celebratory Pie Week pie!

Lemon & poppy seed loaf
Serves 8
For the loaf
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs, separated
  4. 185g/6⅔oz plain flour
  5. ½tsp baking powder
  6. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. pinch salt
  8. 1tbs poppy seeds
  9. 85g/3fl oz buttermilk
  10. juice of 1 lemon
  11. zest of 2 lemons
For the glaze
  1. 1½tbs icing sugar
  2. juice of half a lemon
  3. ½tbs granulated sugar
  4. pinch of lemon zestLemon & poppy seed loaf 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. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin
For the loaf
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & caster sugar until light & fluffy
  2. Mix in the egg yolks
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  4. Mix in the poppy seeds
  5. In a measuring jug, add the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest (reserve a pinch of the zest for the glaze)
  6. Add the dry, flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in two batches; interspersing it with adding the buttermilk & lemon mixture
  7. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks before folding into the mixture
  8. Spoon the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake on the lowest shelf for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean.. If the top of the loaf begins to get too brown, cover with tin foil
  9. Whilst the cake is cooking, make the glaze.
  10. Add the lemon juice & icing sugar to a small measuring jug and stir until any lumps have been removed. Set aside
  11. In a small bowl, add the granulated sugar & lemon zest and with your fingers using a crumbing motion. Set aside
  12. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin
  13. Whilst still warm and using a pastry brush, spread the lemon juice & icing sugar glaze uniformly over the top
  14. Once completely cool, remove the cake from the tin a place on a cake plate
  15. Sprinkle the granulated sugar & lemon zest mixture over the top of the glazed cake
  16. It's now ready to serve!
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H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Cheese and celery pies

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Home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

National Pie Week is going from strength to strength here in the UK. It’s been talked about all over social media and in the traditional media too. Chris Evans and his team have been waxing lyrical about pies they’ve been sent by bakeries from all over the country.

Flour and cubes of butter in a food processor | H is for Home

 Last year for Pie Week I made a lovely butter pie; this year I wanted to keep with the theme of a vegetarian, rustic, humble pie. I turned to my copy of Pie by Genevieve Taylor that we reviewed last year. I found just the recipe – cheese and celery pies – but with a little twist.

Flour and cubes of butter blended in a food processor | H is for Home

Pastry crumbs poured out on to clingfilm | H is for Home

The original recipe is a single pie done in a shallow pie plate. I quite liked the idea of doing little individual hand pulled pies. I used a couple of cling film-wrapped jars in lieu of a pastry dolly.

Pastry wrapped in clingfilm | H is for Home

Veg stock | H is for Home

Pulled pies are usually made using hot water pastry, but I was being lazy and just whizzed up a quick batch of shortcrust pastry. I think it worked just fine, but I’m sure Paul Hollywood wouldn’t approve!

Cooked off onions and celery | H is for Home

Hand pulled pie cases | H is for Home

This recipe made 4 small pies but you can easily scale it up. We had one each so I put the other two in the freezer – pre-baked – so that they can be taken out and baked off the next time we fancy a pie.

Filling pulled pie cases | H is for Home

Making pie tops | H is for Home

There was a little bit of pastry left over – isn’t there always? I quite like rolling it out thinly, slicing it into long thin strips, sprinkling over with cheese and baking for 15 minutes. What do you do with yours?

Glazing pie tops | H is for Home

Sliced home made cheese & celery pies | H is for Home

I’ve already started thinking about what pie I’m going to make next year!

Cheese and celery pies
Yields 4
for the pastry
  1. 360g/12½oz plain flour
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 180g/6⅓oz cold butter, cubed
  4. 6-8 tbsp cold water
for the filling
  1. 25g/1oz butter
  2. ½tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium onion, chopped
  4. ½ head celery, sliced
  5. 125ml/4 fl oz veg stock (or ½ veg stock cube + 125ml boiling water)
  6. 30g/1oz mature cheddar cheese, grated
  7. salt & ground black pepper to taste
  8. a little beaten egg to glazeCheese and celery pies 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
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Adapted from Pie by Genevieve Taylor
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/