Nutty Mincepies

nutty-mincepie-close-upThis weekend we were in Edinburgh and had a really delicious meal at Jamie’s Italian. At the end of the meal we were all given a little mince-pie that had a crumble topping. Whilst we all enjoyed it, I reckoned I could recreate and maybe even make it a little better (oh! The arrogance!)

Well, I don’t know if it’s better, but the version I’ve come up with is certainly very easy and tastes even better the day after it’s made – bonus!

If you adapt this yourself, why not comment below and share your top tips with us all? I’m ready to take notes.

Nutty Mince-pies – makes about 18

nutty-mincepiesIngredients

  • 180g + 60g plain flour
  • 90g + 40g butter
  • teaspoon of demerara sugar
  • few tablespoons of icy cold water and a few drops of lemon juice added
  • (optional): handful of nuts of your choice: I used a tablespoon of flaked almonds and a small handful of hazelnuts because it’s all I had to hand
  • half a small jar of mincemeat (I used about 200g total)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210degC (gas 7) and take out your mince-pie tins. Clear space in your fridge to precariously balance the tins on.
  2. Make the shortcrust pastry:
    • In a food processor (with the whirly double blade), whizz up 180g plain flour with 90g cold butter.
    • When it’s the consistency of breadcrumbs, add icy cold water and lemon juice a tablespoon at a time, pulsing the processor. You’ll only need 2-3 tablespoons.
    • Stop just as the dough is coming together.
    • Roll and cut out the base of the mince-pies (ie make pie cases). I managed 18 with this amount of dough, but it depends how thinly you roll it – you might make more or fewer.
    • Line the mince-pie tins with the pie cases and put in the fridge.
  3. Make the crumble:
    This is about as dusty as you want to get the nutty crumble - still lumps of butter visible

    This is about as dusty as you want to get the nutty crumble – still lumps of butter visible

    in the same food processor (don’t wash it; no need) add 60g plain flour, 40g butter, teaspoon of demerara sugar and a handful of nuts. Whizz it up until it’s the consistency you like. Stop before it’s dust, though, or it’ll be dry and cloying! (And if it does that, serve your pies with cream or custard – sorted)

  4. When the oven’s at temperature, take the mince-pies out the fridge and add a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie-case.
  5. Spoon the crumble over the top. For me, it worked out about a tablespoon of crumble mix per pie, but it all depends on how many nuts you added.
  6. Bake for 15 – 20 mins.
  7. Remove to a wire rack immediately because any spilled mince-pie mix will cool to concrete, cementing your pies to the tin forever.
  8. Eat alone, with a cuppa, slathered in custard, or drowned in cream.

Greedy Old Trout

Trout: <tummy rumbles> “Mini, are you hungry?”

Mini Minx: “No, Mummy. Let’s play shops!”

Trout: “In a minute. Do you fancy a biscuit?”

Mini: “No, Mummy. Let’s play shops!”

Trout: “Shall we bake biscuits?”

Mini: “No, Mummy. Let’s play shops!”

Trout: “What about baking Vampire Biscuits – I’ll let you lick the icing spoon! Shall we bake?”

Mini: “No, Mummy. Let’s play shops!”

Trout: “If we bake biscuits, we can play Biscuit Shops!”

Mini: <crumbles>

plate of iced empire biscuits

Vampire Biscuits, aka Empire or Imperial Biscuits. Whatever they’re called, they’re a bit nice

Standard Minxiness

Today was a kind of standard day with the minxes, but for a change I took notes to remind me of all the minxy things they do through the day.  I stopped around lunch-time.  So here is half a standard day for me.

Over breakfast, Maxi and Midi Minx were discussing what they were going to be when they grew up.

“I’m going to be an artist”, declared Maxi, for the millionth time, “And I’m going to be unusual”. Yes, dear…

“I gonna be a Mummy!” Midi said, all wide-eyed.  I asked her how many kids she was going to have. She held 5 fingers aloft, gleefully.  Girls or boys? “All boys!!” she giggled.  Good grief…

Mini Minx listened seriously to these exchanges and practiced saying her sisters’ names: “Popp-pa!  Llllllllllll!” she said, to their delight. For extra cuteness, she then wrinkled her nose up because she knows I have to squash it. It’s irresistible, like a Laughing Buddha’s tummy, her nose draws my fingers to it.

Mini’s comprehension is far, far greater than I realised. I got the girls to help me clear up the terrible mess of craft stuff so I could put their breakfast on the table. I don’t expect wonders, just a bowl-sized space on the table. Mini was ‘helping’.  “No, no, R!” I said, “Get the bit on the floor!” The wee soul, who had her back to me, immediately bent forward to get the bit on the floor I was on about. It’s like when I ask her for the hundredth time in an hour, “R, what’s that in your mouth?” and she opens her little mouth wide and waggles her tongue at me.  Very sweet.

Also sweet is Midi’s chipped tooth. Well, endearing, but worrying, too. I noticed it yesterday for the first time and no-one has any idea when she knocked a little lump out the middle of her top front tooth, on the edge. I suspect it was the last time we had roast chicken – Midi loves drumsticks, but if you take your eye off her too long she’ll start crunching up the bone, like a dog… And although she’s stopped trying to eat her friends, she still bites in frustration (her toys, the settee, the door, her shoes)

Shoes – I got the girls some new sandals for the summer earlier in the week (yeah I know it’s mid-July, but you know, they only needed them now, ok?) Mini’s arrived today.  She loves her purple Tevas and happily put them on and pulled them off all day.

I told Maxi I was going to make a Thai curry for dinner tonight (I didn’t – I went for Indian tomato chicken with spicy cauliflower and rice instead and everyone except Mini and me hated it. Fussy gits). She asked where Thai was.

“No, Thai is something that comes from Thailand. It’s a country on the other side of the world”, I explained.

“Don’t you mean England?” Maxi asked. “That *is* on the other side of the planet”.  See what I mean about catching a sense of humour..?

In a fit of what-the-hell-how-messy-ca-it-get, I decided to make Nigella’s sour cream chocolate cake with the girls. They fought over who got to stire the wet stuff and who got to stir the dry stuff. Well, Maxi whined and whinged about whatever Midi did; Midi didn’t care, she just got on happily with making a mess. I sent Maxi up to get back into bed and get out ‘the right side’. Meanwhile, I gave Midi 2 eggs and got her to crack them into a jug and whisk them.  She did it perfectly! Clever girl. Her pudgy little hands managed the shell beautifully, and she was so pleased with herself. On a roll, I decided to let her help me press the buttons on the mixer.

“Now wait till I tell you!” I warned her, “Don’t touch anything till I say!” Too late. On to ‘pulse’. Our flour-guard is broken, so me and Midi got covered in flour and butter. She yelled in shock. I wailed in anger. After giving her a cuddle to reassure her that no-one was hurt this time, and just not to do it again, she decided to have a little dance.

“Mummy, watch me spin!” she grinned, and executed a very fast triple-spin on one foot, her posh frock skirt swooshing out wide (it was a stay at home day, and if they don’t wear their party frocks then, when the hell else are they going to?!). Alas she held on for the last half a rotation too long, and toppled over, like a spent spinning top. Crack! Her little head nearly left a dent in the hard laminate. She was sniffly till she got a piece of the chocolate cake to make her feel better (it was too rich and she hated it all, except for the Smarties I let her decorate on her half of the cake).

The Boss was off work sick with the cough he’s had for 18 days. He cutely thought he could lie on the sofa all day, cough weakly and watch TV: I quickly asserted how he could watch one or more girls while I did other useful things. Like sort out the curtains in the living room so they didn’t sag in the middle, like I asked him to fix when we moved here 2 years ago (grrrrr). To be fair, he is a bit poorly. We watched Black Swan on DVD this evening and he stopped breathing for quite a bit when Natalie Portman got seen to by Mila Kunis. In fact, he went quite red in the face. I nearly had to fetch a bucket of water to shock him back into breathing…