This Christmas, Waitrose are running a campaign called 'Bake It Forward'. It's all about baking something for someone who you want to thank, sharing it on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #BakeItForward, then tagging your someone and asking them to continue the good deed by doing the same for someone else they know. Together we can all start a chain of baking joy! And maybe win some Waitrose goodies too. Here's Heston Blumenthal to tell you a bit more about #BakeItForward...
I joined in the campaign and decided to make these squares after discussing a mutual love of mince pies with a colleague of mine. I made Apricot Bakewell Squares earlier this year and they were delicious. We both agreed that replacing the jam with mincemeat would be a fantastic festive twist! Seen as she loves mince pies so much I am baking these for her as she is supportive and helpful colleague who certainly deserves these tasty treats!
I started by making the pastry. I rubbed 100g butter into 225g plain flour and 1 tsp salt. I added 2 1/2 tbsp cold water and brought the mixture together to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled for 30 minutes. Alternatively you can buy a 375g pack of shortcrust pastry.
I rolled the pastry out to fit my lined and greased baking tin and pricked it with a fork. I chilled it again for 20 minutes, then baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutes.
I spooned a jar of mincemeat over the part baked pastry. I always use a good quality mincemeat and one with brandy or cognac in it because I think it tastes nicest, or you can make your own, Waitrose have a good recipe for it.
I gently spooned the sponge over the top and spread it out. I sprinkled over some toasted flaked almonds.
I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until it was a lovely golden brown.
When it was fully cool I mixed 2 heaped tbsp icing sugar with water and piped it over the sponge in a zig zag pattern.
The squares were really delicious and certainly improved by the good quality mincemeat - hello brandy! I was really pleased with them and so were my colleagues, I got a lot of good feedback. Although sadly the colleague these were aimed at was off sick today. Fingers crossed she is better and back in tomorrow as I have saved her one! They are certainly an interesting twist on mince pies and a great way to feel festive.