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.
Mince Pie Bakewell Squares
- 300g Butter
- 225g Plain flour
- 2 1/2 tsp Cold water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 200g Golden caster sugar
- 4 Eggs
- 1 tsp Brandy
- 1/2 tsp Almond extract
- 100g Self raising flour
- 100g Ground almonds
- 1 jar of Mincemeat
- A handful of Toasted flaked almonds
- 2 heaped tbsp Icing sugar
Start by making the pastry. Rub 100g of the butter into the plain flour and salt. Add the cold water and bring the mixture together to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridgeRoll the pastry out to fit a lined and greased baking tin and prick it with a fork. Chill it again for 20 minutes, then bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10 minutesTo make the sponge cream 200g of the butter and the golden caster sugar together. Whisk in the eggs, brandy and almond extract. Fold in the ground almonds and self raising flourSpoon a jar of mincemeat over the part baked pastry baseGently spoon the sponge over the top and spread it out. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almondsBake on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until it is a lovely golden brownWhen fully cool, mix the icing sugar with some water and pipe it over the sponge in a zig zag pattern