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Archive for the ‘Sweet Things’ Category

Mince Pies

Simple, seasonal classic. Thanks to Delia Smith for the pastry recipe. The, half lard, half butter combination creates that beautiful flaky texture. The tinsel decoration is optional. To our American friends there is no meat in this dish despite the filling being called mincemeat. The mixture is actually chopped dried fruits sugar and spices.

 

Ingredients (Makes 24)

  • 350g plain flour
  • 75g lard
  • 75g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 450g of mincemeat
  • small amount of milk
  • icing sugar

Method

Sift the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt, add the lard and butter in small chunks and rub the fat into the flour until you get fine crumbs. When you get to this stage, add a little water and start mixing with your hand,  keep adding a little more water and keep stirring until the dough forms a nice ball. Put the ball of dough in cling film and put in the fridge for 30 mins.

Remove from the fridge and cut the dough in half, actually 60% and 40% chunks (one for the base of the mince pies and one for the slightly smaller top.) dust a work surface with flour and roll the larger part out as thinly as you can, and use a 3inch pastry cutter to create the bases of the pies, placing them in a greased pie tin. Spoon the pre-bought mincemeat equally into the pastry bases. When that’s done, roll out the other 40% of the dough, again as thinly as possible, then cut the tops of the pies out using a inch cutter. Brush the pies with milk and bake them in a pre-heated oven for 30 mins. Leave them to cool, then dust with icing sugar. Best served at Christmas time with a cup of tea.

 

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Caramel Popcorn

Afternoon snackage was sweet, sticky and buttery popcorn. The trick is to make the popcorn just right so you don’t burn it or leave any corn kernels behind. To be honest, the first attempt was a bit of a disaster. The second batch was better. Next time, I’ll just reach for the microwavable popcorn. It tastes good, it’s fool proof and there’s far less washing up. One thing we did discover is that you need to pick out the unpopped kernels before you add the caramel, as they stick to the clusters of popcorn and put you in danger of a trip to the dentist. Anyway, definitely recommend trying this. It’s something different and if you’re looking for a few more calories, this one’s for you.

Ingredients

  • popcorn
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter, cut into chunks
  • salt

Method

Pop the corn kernels according to instructions on packet. Sprinkle a bit of salt on top if they’re not already salted.

In a saucepan heat the sugar over medium heat and do not stir. When the sugar begins to brown, you need to move it around by picking up the pan and swirling it around so that it caramelizes evenly. Now add the butter and stir rapidly until it becomes smooth and a light brown color.


I found that I needed to drain a bit of the butter that didn’t incorporate itself into the caramel. Then pour the caramel over the popcorn while simultaneously stirring the popcorn so that the caramel doesn’t get cold and solidify in one area.

Eat and enjoy!



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