Saturday, 5 December 2009

Christmas Isn't Christmas Without Mince Pies

I say that Christmas isn't Christmas without mince pies, but to be honest I am not one of their biggest fans. However it is true that you can't be without them during the festive season. It is simply one of those traditions like making mounds of brussel sprouts eventhough 2 out of 15 people like them or like playing 'All I Want For Christmas' by Mariah Carey while wrapping up the Christmas presents. It would just be wrong to not have a plate over flowing with the little fruit filled crisp parcels dusted with icing sugar, waiting to be eaten hot out of the oven and served with cold cream. Funilly enough, all this talk about mince pies is making me crave one right now!
Although I would prefer eating the traditional Greek Christmas sweets (did I tell you I was greek?) melomakarona. Simply put, they are a flavourful spicy biscuit which are soaked in a honey and sugar syrup till soft and moist, to the point where they are on the brink of crumbling but stay strong and keep their shape until you pop them into your mouth, where they will melt happily. Most of the people in my family (from the English side) love, love, love mince pies. So this blog is dedicated to them.
For years my mum has been using this recipe and has never failed to recieve a massive compliment by anyone who tries them. Growing up, every year we would all help my mum make her famous mince pies. I was usually incharge of dolloping the mince meat into the pastry cases, an easy job I'm sure you would think but I always remember being told to 'add more' or 'that's too much'! Another thing I remember, is my mum always telling me that the pastry was really tricky and would fall apart very easily. A problem which she now realises was due to 25grams too much of butter. I think I can safely say, that her mince pies are legendary! She is pretty much known for them, when it comes to Christmas time, with people calling up to order boxes and boxes of them.
Seeing as I love baking and all things traditional, last year 2 weeks before the Christmas holidays I planned to make mince pies at uni (I was adamant to use my mum's recipe over my other friends') with two of my flatmates. To my suprise the mince pies turned out great AND my friend begged and pleaded for the recipe saying they were the best she'd ever had. This was another reason why I was happy. I again decided I would make mince pies this year for my new flatmates, however this time I was left to make them all by myself. So I put the radio on and began the process. The pastry worked amazingly, I got the cooking time down to a t and the whole kithen smelt all christmassy. I couldn't believe how well they turned out when I made them on Thursday and was pleased to hear the congratulatory feedback when I took my uncle, aunt and cousin some to try yesterday.
Maybe there is some truth in the saying 'too many cooks spoil the broth'.

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