In the cold months of winter, nestling up inside with a treat become a habit.
At breakfast I think about lunch, and while wandering the streets of a cozy english countryside village I dream of finding the perfect little cafe to warm my hands and enjoy a warm treat.
My english gentleman took me to a charming village called Sherborne, where we hunted for antiques and perused the local christmas market, before finding a gem of a cafe that one of his sister´s had suggested for us.
Oliver´s in Sherborne was where I for the first time had mince pie and mulled wine, I know, where have been the past 20 years! Sleeping under a rock for sure:)
Did you know that mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since the 16th century.
Back then they were made of meat but are now made with sweet mincemeat; a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices and brandy.
This is my take on this great English Christmas treat made with blackcurrants cordial and mango among the more traditional ingredients.
(Makes 12 mince pies)
170g all purpose flour
100g salted butter
140g semi dried apricot, diced
80g semi-dried figs diced
100g roasted walnuts
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon,
1/2 grated nutmeg
1 Orange zest and juice
3 tbsp Chia seed (optional)
1 banana chopped
A small handful of dried mango
3 tbsp gløgg, blackcurrants cordial (or brandy)
Place the flour, butter and salt into a large bowl.
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
Add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture binds, about 3 tbsp.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
You can also make the dough in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add water a tbsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill as mentioned above.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and roast the walnuts on a baking tray for about 10 min, before taking them out.
Leave them to cool on a kitchen towel for some minutes and gently rub the walnuts with the towel rolled into a ball to get the dark shell off the nuts.
Pick out the nuts and add them to the food processor.
Turn off the oven.
In a food processor on pulse add all the fruit and nuts.
Then add the liquid.
Have the food processor on plus only until the ingredients are mixed and chopped a bit, but avoid keeping it running till it´s a porridge, you want small chunks. About 1 min depending on how rough you chopped the dry fruit.
Butter up a 12-hole bun tin to make sure the pies don´t stick.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees while sprinkling some flour on a surface and rolling out the dough till its about as thick as a pound or two quarters on top of each other.
Use a small glass or cup to cut out 12 pie bottoms/discs, or use a ca 7cm cutter.
Then cut 12 small stars or hearts from the rest of the dough with small cookie cutters or cut out from paper and cut with a knife around the paper cut-outs on the dough.
I usually skip the top lids on the pies and go straight for the decoration in the shape of a star or a heart. That way you can see a bit of the mincemeat peaking through on the sides when you place the star on top of the small pies.
However, if you want, cut 12, 6 cm discs that are half as thick as the bottom discs, like on quarter or a normal coin in thickness, and place on top as a lid on the pies before you add the star or heart decorations.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 10 min on 190 degrees, or until a shy golden color appears.
Here´s a little video clip from our delicious sweets feast at Oliver´s in Sherborne.
Did you notice the deliciously dark carrot cake in the video?
It was a real treat filled with fruit and nuts in addition to carrots.
Coming up soon is my take on recreating this sultry dark carrot dessert.