Cranberry & Orange Mincemeat Squares
I had planned a couple of months ago to make my own mincemeat, but life got in the way and I didn't quite get round to it. So instead I decided to add flavour to basic mincemeat, the first I came up with was cranberry and orange - very Christmasey flavours. I did this by adding dried cranberries, 2 tsp orange essence and the zest of one large orange to a jar of brandy infused mincemeat and mixing well. You can add more or less orange depending our your taste, or more alcohol if you fancy!
These mincemeat squares are made using puff pastry. I decided against making my own puff pastry, because frankly, it looks very time consuming and difficult! This time of year can be hard work, so why not make things a bit easier for yourself I say.
I found this Jus Rol Light Puff Pastry in Tesco. Christmas is such a time of indulgence, so it's nice to save some calories where you can! And it still tasted just as good!
This pastry is so easy to use. I just defrosted it and rolled it out on a floured surface to the recommend size on the pack.
I trimmed the edges, then cut it into squares. I wasn't overly concerned about neatness here.
Score a smaller square in the centre of the pastry square with a sharp knife. This will stop it from puffing up in the middle where your filling is. Add about a teaspoon and a half of mincemeat - depending on the size of square you cut out - and brush the edge with beaten egg. Leave a 1 cm gap at least for the edges.
Bake on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15-18 minutes. Or until the pastry has gone golden brown and puffed up.
Leave to cool (the mincemeat gets very hot in the oven so be careful if you want to eat these warm!) Enjoy alone, or with ice cream, cream, or custard. I think these are a fab and easy alternative to standard mince pies! So simple to make and they look great.
Blueberry & Lemon Mincemeat Cups
I added one egg and used my hands to bind the mixture together into a dough. I kneaded it briefly (1-2 minutes) on a floured surface until the dough was smooth. Then I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.
I rolled the dough out onto a floured surface and used a round cutter to cut out circles. I greased a cupcake tray with butter and places the circles of dough into the tray, and pricked the bottom of the dough with a fork twice.
A dusting of icing sugar and they were done. I took these into work and both mince pie variations got gobbled up quickly. Really pleased with how this turned out as the idea of flavouring mincemeat was just a random thought I came up with. What other mince pie variations have you eaten or made?