I know at this time of year people are firmly divided into two camps. There are those who do partake in mincemeat and those who jolly well don’t. They react to it in an Arthur Miller style protestation of there being witchcraft at play.
So, if you fancy making something a little bit special for the mincemeat hater in your life, these could be just the ticket. Or you could just eat their mince pie for them. They win, you win. Your call.
Scott Choucino took the photos of these little flaky morsels of goodness. His work is here.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website) which is just £2.99 at the mo! And no, the recipes are not just about frozen food. Every recipe has instructions of how to make with chilled ingredients too.
Last December: Two minute marinade for chicken and Melted snowman biscuits and Egg nog truffles and Chocolate biscuit Christmas pudding and Drunken Amaretto mince pies and Cheese concertina loaf and Hot chocolate on a stick and Sausage, sage and squash lasagne and Chocolate hazelnut granola and Orange and cranberry loaf and Chocolate ganache tart.
Cherry Eccles cakes
Makes 8 with off cuts of pastry
- 250g frozen butter, grated
- 290g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 155mls cold water
For the filling and topping:
- 10g butter, melted
- 50g currants/sultanas
- 60g dried cherries
- 50g soft brown sugar
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 egg white
- 20g castor sugar
Make the pastry by grating the frozen butter into the flour. Pour in the lemon juice and water, then use a blunt knife to pull together. Roll the pastry onto a floured surface into a rough rectangle 15 x 40cm. Fold the edges into the centre of the pastry and then fold the pastry together to form a ‘closed book’. Roll out to the same size, repeat the previous folding, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat 3 more times, chilling for 15 minutes between rolls. Finally, chill for an hour. (Much like when you make puff pastry).
Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 8 and line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Mix together the butter, currants, cherries, brown sugar and orange zest to make the filling. Roll the pastry out onto a floured work surface to about 1/2cm thick and cut circles about 10cm wide. Place a tablespoon of filling into the centre of each circle, gather the sides into the middle and squash together with your fingers. Turn over, roll lightly with a rolling pin until the dried fruit shows through. Place on the baking sheet and cut two slashes into the middle of the pastry, deep enough to expose the dried fruit but not all the way to the bottom. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with castor sugar and repeat with the other pastry circles until all used up. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
P.S. Don’t be tempted to add more ‘turns’ to the pastry thinking it will aid the rise and flakiness. It won’t. The layers of fat start to lose their non fat layer between them when too many turns are given, meaning the layers stick together and the rise is compromised. Your pastry will also likely be overworked and thus tough. I’m not trying to stem any pastry making excitement here, I’m just being brutally honest.
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