|Five very different mince pies|
Those of you that have followed the blog
for a while will know that I a) love Christmas b) cannot make mince pies and c) enjoy keeping both old traditions alive and creating new traditions. This year we have begun a new tradition and already everyone in our household is excited about it.
We have begun the yearly mince pie bake off!!!!
This week end we were 5, mamma is here from Norway and so on Sunday morning, we all looked for our recipes and made our lists, bought our ingredients and fought for space in the kitchen. It was such fun.
The rules were, there were no rules, except we were not allowed to help each other or be helped. But the rules would allow for someone to actually have bought shop mince pies, but no one was prepared this year to do that, I wonder what future years will bring...
First off the mark and into the kitchen was our youngest, he went off piste and added cinnamon and orange zest to his pastry, he was competitive and said how much he loved the challenge. This was the first time he had ever made pastry, he is 13.
|Mince pies with cinnamon and orange zest pastry|
Next up was mamma, whose recipe stated not to use cookie cutters and to roll her pastry out and slice them, then shape them into the tins, I thought this looked messy and was not convinced, however, they actually came out really rather well and were the most 'Mr Kipling' like of all five mince pie varieties! This was mamma's first time at making mince pies too.
Mr H and our eldest baked at the same time and were in each others way, more on purpose than out of necessity I feel. Both used good food recipes found on line, but very different versions. Our daughter used shop bought mince meat (as did we all, only thinking to start the bake off some few hours before we began, who knows if someone makes their own another year!?!?) but she added chopped apple, segmented Satsuma and lemon zest to give it her personal spin. However, as there were no rules to this bake off and the fact that she is studying for mock exams, she bought her pastry!!! Ummm.... and Mr H insisted on having luxury bought mince meat, no one else was that flash.
I knew from bitter experience that I am no good at making mince pies and therefore felt that I would come last in the bake off, so I could afford to be adventurous and I too went off piste and followed Jo Wheatley eccles based mince pies, they do not look like mince pies at all! I had a bit of trouble half way through the recipe, so had to wing it a bit, but they looked ok.
The house smelt amazing all afternoon and we were all transported on Christmas mode, even those who do not usually feel the spirit until Christmas Eve. It was such a great family thing to do together. Stiff competition never hurt a family, did it?!?!!?
We took the testing and tasting seriously, everyone having to produce 6 mince pies to the testing table and they were marked for taste and appearance. The person who made the mince pies could not judge their own. It was incredible the variety of taste and texture and we all agreed we did not like the mincemeat that contained the brandy but that we all loved the version which had added fruit to it. Think next year several of us may now make our own mince meat for the bake off! The shop bought pastry was ok actually and one persons pastry was a bit too thick and hard. The pastry with cinnamon, was a tad too subtle and could have had more but we all liked the take of changing the pastry. Mine were liked except the mince meat that I used was also changed by adding a sweet paste to it as per the recipe and we really found that far too sweet. There was no overall winner as two of the mince pies scored the same score, those of our eldest daughter and mine. But it has fired us all up for fighting for the winning bake off title next year... loving this new tradition.
♥ Happy Monday everyone! ♥