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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Resolutions

Buildings in Shanghai, China. Visiting China was probably the best experience I had in 2013.

At the beginning of the year, I made some resolutions. I think that's quite a common theme around this time of year. In case you missed the post, which you probably did because no one read my blog at the beginning of the year, it's here.

I actually stuck to some of my resolution quite well I think. At least, I stuck to my main one for about 3/4 of the year - I gave something up for about 9 months out of 12, that's not too bad if you think that I spent 25% of 2013 not eating chocolate. That's quite impressive for someone with as big a sweet tooth as me! My 'trying hard at school' resolution also went quite well, except for the contributing in class bit... That's never going to happen. Anyway, I think it's time to set myself a new set of goals to strive towards!

Let's see:

1. Do something each day which I do not want to do/that scares me. 
    
   This basically just means going to the gym if I really don't feel like it, talking to a stranger, writing an essay, etc. etc. I think it'd be good to start doing new things and to stop procrastinating so much! Especially if I get into university, in which case I'll be forcing myself to make new friends and sign up to new things!

2. Hit the gym 3 times a week, and blog 3 times a week. Minimum.

   Again, I need to force myself to do these things. No four days must pass without any physical activity! I refuse to be the chubby one when I'm on holiday with friends in Summer - watch out Cyprus. I also want to keep up my blogging, so I'm going to aim for 3 posts a week. I better stick to this resolution!

3. Make someone's day as often as possible.

    Compliment people, surprise people, do good things without expecting anything in return. It sounds a bit goody-two-shoes but I just want to make people happier. It seems like a fun thing to do.

4. Take an active interest in more things.

   I thought of this about 2 seconds ago, but it sounds quite good. This means getting more involved in things which I find interesting - feminism, politics, photography, architecture, the list continues. Who knows, some politically motivated posts could show up in the next year...

I hope everyone has a lovely New Year!



Monday, 30 December 2013

The Week #6


This week was, as the one before it, largely dominated by food. Food, and family. It was a good week! We've never spent a whole Christmas with family (in my memory at least), except for once when we went to up north for a couple of days. This time, people were here all week, and it was a lot of fun. The house seems very quiet now...

Now that my baking challenge is over and done with, I have to start doing my homework. That means a lot of reading and memorising and note making. I also have to finish my video of the trip to China in time for the assembly, and write about the women's group we met there... Safe to say I have a lot to do in the next week.

The weirdest thing is that by the end of 2014, I will have left school and will (hopefully) be at university. This coming year will be one of stress, revision, more stress, and lots of change. Fingers crossed it'll be fun and rewarding too! Who knows. I need to start thinking about my new years resolutions - I think some sort of blogging goal will definitely be included so that I keep up the momentum I built during the baking challenge!

I hope you all have a wonderful end of 2013!

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Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 12: Flourless Chocolate Cake


Today is the last day of my christmas baking challenge, and I thought I'd finish with something simple which I had never made before. I've always wanted to make a flourless chocolate cake, the pictures in baking books look so appetising. For some reason, I've just never got round to it. Until today, of course!


This cake is truly amazing! I almost tried to cook it in a small tin, before realising that it would probably be safer to use a cake tin with high sides - I'm very glad I did that, otherwise there would have been cake all over the oven and this post would be a lot more gloomy!


Well, luckily I chose the right tin, and the cake turned out perfectly (in my opinion at least!). It rises up so much in the oven, before sinking as it cools. The end result is a dense chocolate cake which is still light, with a harder top, slightly meringue-y in texture. The end result is basically chocolate heaven.


Both my dad and brother said it tasted like a lighter version of a brownie, and I have to agree. It went down very well with my hungover sister, and even my mum liked it (she's never that keen on very chocolatey things) so I'm saying this was definitely a success! Always good to end on a high note. The recipe, like yesterday's, was from the Primrose Bakery cookbook, easily one of my favourites!

I've had a lot of fun doing this challenge, and it's made me realise how much time baking takes up! Hopefully I'll do something similar in the new year, and I'm definitely going to try to keep posting as often as possible! However, now it's time to knuckle down and read some Chaucer...

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Day 11: Cinnamon Buns


I'm in love. I've never felt like this about a pastry before. I think I need help... Seriously though, these are amazing. Living with my mother, I'd convinced myself that I didn't like cinnamon (she isn't a big fan), but my Dad loves these, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and make these - I made something for my dad, and I improved my baking skills (these have yeast in! I had to knead it! My Mum didn't even help!). I am so glad I made these. Thanks Dad!


The dough is perfectly dense yet not stodgy, they have a brilliant cinnamon taste (but not overpowering) and the sugar oozed out of the bottom to create a syrup which was just fabulous. Just writing about this is making my mouth water. These are definitely best eaten fresh out of the oven, but I would eat them at pretty much any time of day.


After they came out the oven, I glazed them using some warmed apricot jam which had been watered down slightly, and then I made a thin watery icing by mixing water and icing sugar, which I put in a squeezy bottle and squeezed over the buns!


As, once again, it's late (I have 7 minutes until it isn't even December 26th, and then this post would have to be my 12th day of baking!) and I used a recipe from a book which is all the way downstairs in the kitchen while I'm all comfy in bed, the recipe will not be featuring in this post. I can't even remember the name of the book at the moment - once I do I will update the post with the details! 

Now I can go to bed knowing I have these to wake up to... 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Day 10: Yule Log


Merry Christmas! Today's offering is a very festive yule log - easily my favourite Christmas pudding. This disappeared from the table pretty quickly (not hard when there's 13 people all hankering for some chocolate) so I think it went down well... 


I've made this every Christmas for the past few years, ever since I bought myself the Nigella Christmas book with book vouchers for a school prize - I'm easily the definition of cool, right? 


I'm a big fan of this cake - it doesn't take very long to make, and it looks lovely. Plus, chocolate.


Currently, the whole family are sitting round the table playing a homemade version of 'Would I Lie To You', so I don't want to miss out by spending ages on the computer! I hope you all had a very lovely Christmas!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Day 9: Christmas Cake


Ok, today's post is a little bit of a cheat, as the actual cake was made a few weeks ago, and all I did today was ice it and decorate it. I did, however, make a cake which I'm planning on transforming into a yule log tomorrow, so technically I have baked today! 


The cake and the icing were made using Nigel Slater's recipes in his book 'The Kitchen Diaries', so I won't be writing the recipes down below in case they track me down and kill me for stealing... (also, I'm shattered and can't really be bothered, sorry). I will write down the decorating instructions in the next paragraph though!


I covered the cake in apricot jam which had been warmed and sieved to remove any lumps, before rolling out marzipan to cover the cake. Instead of attempting to cover the whole cake in one go, I cut a circle using the cake tin which the cake was baked in as a template, and put that on the top. I then worked out the height of the cake and cut strips of marzipan and put them on the sides of the cake. 


Next, I made the icing (I used Billington's unrefined golden icing sugar, which is why the icing isn't white) and ruffled it up using the palette knife to make it look a bit 'snowy'. After that, I used the left over marzipan to make a few Christmas-themed decorations - hence the yellow tree and the limited colour palette! 




Monday, 23 December 2013

Day 8: Chocolate Birthday Cake


Christmas has begun. Or at least, family are here and the festivities are nearly beginning... It was my aunt's birthday on Saturday, and so I thought I'd do something tried-and-tested in order to celebrate. This cake was decorated with my cousin (deffo a baking prodigy, check out this cake!), and I have to say I'm pretty chuffed with it.


Chocolate cake is one of my favourite things to make, mainly because it requires bucket loads of chocolate to decorate it - always a bonus to have some maltesers left over... It's a really easy thing to make, as it doesn't take much time to whip up some cake mixture and the decorating is easily the best part of any day. Having a young assistant was also great - she had some refreshing new ideas to bring to the table, now that I'm legally an adult I need youthful people around me to keep me young!


Sadly, I forgot to measure out the icing mix as it was too much fuss (this part is actually really sad because the icing is better than I normally make it).

Recipe:
  • 8oz butter
  • 8oz caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 6.5oz self-raising flour
  • 1.5oz cocoa powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC and line two 8" round cake tins.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light & fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, and gently fold in. 
  5. Divide the mix between the two cake tins.
  6. Bake for 18-20 mins/until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
For the icing I use:
  • Icing sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Butter
  • Milk
For decorations I used:
  • M&Ms
  • White & milk chocolate maltesers
  • White & milk chocolate buttons
  • Milky Way Stars
  • Edible glitter
  • Edible snowflake sprinkles

Sunday, 22 December 2013

The Week #5


This past week has clearly been dominated by baking. In my opinion, there isn't a much better way to spend a Christmas holiday. However, I think the time I've spent baking was probably meant to have been spent memorising Chaucer and facts about the French Revolution, but oh well...

I have managed to leave the house a few times, including to make a bit of money babysitting (maybe I will be able to afford to get my mum a present after all...) and to go to a friend's 18th. I have a Christmas party tonight which I'm quite excited for, mostly because it involves sitting in a Christmas present costume on the train, which I'm sure will embarrass my travelling companion, and what's not fun about that?

However, I'm not that excited for actual Christmas. This year I think everything's just gone too far in the traditional overhyping of Christmas, with all these adverts and the pressure to spend all the money you've ever possessed on some random object you would never buy in the hope of impressing someone who you don't particularly like. Christmas baking is still exciting (and hopefully I'll get a nice present or two - I'm not against people spending money on me #doublestandards) so I'm looking forward to what I'm baking over the coming week. I'm sure once Christmas comes around it'll be fun, and I'll move out of my grinch mindset!

Day 7: Linzer/A Very Big Jam Tart



I began today with the best of intentions, hoping to end up with a beautiful linzer to proudly show off on here. I ended the morning with a peeved-off sulk in front of the Honey Boo Boo Christmas special. Safe to say, the recipe for this let me down (a good baker does blame the recipes because this one definitely wasn't my fault... Or so I tell myself). Nonetheless, it's still pretty tasty. My dad loves linzer, or anything with sugar, or jam, or pastry, or that's been in the oven, or that is edible... Basically, my dad's just a walking stream of approval for almost all food. Anyway, when my mum spotted the recipe in a magazine, we knew it had to be made. 


Now, for the things I've learnt from making this, which may help you if you decide to make your own (which you definitely should unless you don't like jam, in which case get off my blog). Number 1: the recipe makes a huge quantity. I was planning on halving it, but we didn't have an adequately sized tin (and I secretly wanted more linzer). If you're making it for lots of people, that's fine, but it gets expensive when you're using so much butter and jam, so if it's just for a sweet treat/afternoon snack, halving it may be beneficial. 


Number 2: I didn't leave enough pastry for the top. It says to set aside one third of the mix, but I think more is needed if you want to achieve the lattice effect. Number 3: stock up on jam - this may just be because my family love jam, but I found that the recipe definitely used too little jam, especially in relation to the amount of pastry - that would be one dry linzer. Alternatively, you could leave the pastry from the top and just make a giant jam tart. Due to not having enough for the top, half of mine is pretty much just a big jam tart - I'm not complaining (and neither is my dad).


Recipe:
  • 540g butter
  • 265g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (if halving the recipe, 1 egg & 1 egg yolk may be the best bet)
  • 500g plain flour
  • 270g fine semolina
  • 750-1000g jam raspberry jam (depending on your jam preferences - 1kg may be slightly too jammy for some)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC, and line a 12"x15" (or similar measurements) baking tray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, around 4 or 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour and semolina until well combined.
  5. Put a generous third of the mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, and set aside (you could miss this step out to make a big jam tart).
  6. Pour/press the rest of the mix into the baking tray, making it as flat and even as possible.
  7. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until just starting to go golden on the top.
  8. Take out of the oven and spread the jam on top, making sure it gets into the corners.
  9. Pipe the remaining mixture over the jam in crosshatch pattern.
  10. Return to the oven for 20-22 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
  11. Leave to cool, before eating too much and feeling sick. You could even add some custard.




Saturday, 21 December 2013

Day 6: Cheesecake Swirl Brownies


I was really running out of ideas for what to make, because I have next week planned out but this week was a bit 'google and go' inspiration-wise. Add to the mix a completely sleepless night last night and you end up with a delirious, chocolate-craving 18-year-old who wants to try something new, and this is what you end up with -  cheesecake swirl brownies. They may not be the most photogenic of brownies, but they are definitely some of the tastiest.


For some reason I've put off making these for ages, I always thought the cheesecake layer would be too much hassle. However, my sister helpfully pointed out the masses of Philadelphia sitting in the fridge waiting for a bagel to be smeared on, and suddenly these brownies seemed like a much easier thing to make. They are nowhere near as complicated as I presumed (although I did almost forget an egg and half the butter due to sleep deprivation) and they are so tasty any extra effort is definitely worth it.


As was yesterday's recipe, this is adapted from Mel's Kitchen. The quantities may be a little odd/specific because I was using cups to measure but weighing in grams (why can't Americans just use scales and make everything a lot easier?!).

Recipe:
  • 9.25oz/265g caster sugar
  • 10oz/285g butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • 9.25oz/265g plain flour
  • 2.5oz/65g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8oz/225g cream cheese
  • 3oz/85g icing sugar
  1. Line a 9"x12" tray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
  3. Beat in two of the eggs, one at a time, followed by one teaspoon of vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda into the mixture and fold it in gently.
  5. Scoop 150g or so of the brownie batter into a separate bowl, and spread the rest into the tray and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 165oC.
  7. Bake the brownie layer for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean, being careful not to over-bake. Leave to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar, remaining egg and vanilla.
  9. Spread the cream cheese mix over the cooled brownie layer, and dollop blobs of the extra brownie batter on top of the cream cheese. Swirl it with a skewer if desired.
  10. Bake for another 25 minutes, or until the cheesecake seems to have set.


Friday, 20 December 2013

Day 5: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


Today's recipe is an important one. It's very close to my heart. It's also very American... I really need to move there soon. These are so the best.


I must admit, I was quite sceptical about this recipe. It was in cups (which I have lovingly translated into grams AND ounces) and it was, as mentioned above, very American. By that, I mean 1. it has melted butter in (which I don't think many British recipes include) and 2. it's cookies (again, could you get more American) in BAR FORM. BAR SHAPED COOKIES?! Sorry, I'm shouting, can you tell I'm just really excited? Or maybe I'm just exceedingly hyper from the quantities of sugar I've ingested today.


If you like gooey, chocolatey cookies, but want them in bar form (who doesn't?!) then these are perfect for you. 

Recipe (adapted from Mel's Kitchen):
  • 6oz/170g butter, melted
  • 7oz/200g soft light brown sugar
  • 3.5oz/100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 10.5oz/300g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 250g chocolate chips (whichever flavours you want - I went for a mixture of milk, white and dark)
  1. Preheat the oven to 165oC and line a 9"x12" baking tray.
  2. Beat the sugars and the melted butter together using an electric whisk/mixer.
  3. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
  4. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into the mixture and gently fold it in.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips (the batter will be quite thick and stiff at this point).
  6. Press the mixture into the baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer/knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Day 4: 30 Minute Soft Pretzels


I did it! I made a recipe which only took some time, as opposed to all the time. It also doubled as lunch so it's a real win:win situation. Plus, I just love bread/pretzels/salt/carbs so these are heavenly. I've eaten at least five without thinking.



These are pretty quick to make, and only have a few ingredients. They just taste so good when they're all warm and fresh and ohmygodjustmakethem. You don't have to leave them to rise or anything - they're perfect for those days where you just want something bready and doughy and chewy (it isn't just me who has those days, right?).


If you're on some kind of 'low sodium' or 'no carbs' diet then these are definitely not for you. If, however, you're in the opposite camp and are on the 'it's almost christmas therefore everything I eat now doesn't count' diet, then these are 100% for you.


Full credit to Sally's Baking Addiction (aka my hero and idol) for the recipe, I've translated it into grams and made a couple of changes.

Recipe:
  • 350ml warm water
  • 2&1/4 tsp yeast (I used Allinson's Dried Active Yeast)
  • 1 tsp salt + lots for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp caster/granulated sugar
  • 500g plain flour + extra for kneading (more may be needed if the dough is too sticky)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC and line trays with baking parchment.
  2. Mix the yeast into the warm water until well mixed, though there may be some yeasty clumps floating around.
  3. Stir in the salt and sugar until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the flour, one or two tablespoons at a time. If the dough is still too sticky at the end, add more flour.
  5. Knead the dough on a floured surface for around 3 minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into small sections, mine weighed around 40g each.
  7. Roll the dough into long strips, before forming into the desired pretzel shape.
  8. Place on the baking tray, and cover the dough in the egg wash, before generously sprinkling salt over it.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200oC for another 5 minutes.
  10. Leave to cool/eat straightaway.



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Day 3: Fudge


I incorrectly thought that today's recipe would be a lot quicker and simpler than yesterday's. Oh, how wrong I was. Tomorrow's will be quick, I promise. I've also been feeling extremely sick from the quantities of fudge mixture that I've consumed... I think I have to make something less sugary tomorrow.


And yet, I definitely don't regret making fudge. I made loooaaads and it'll last for a while, so when Tom & Alice come home they'll be able to eat it - I'm going to try to keep away from it so that I don't put on 2 stone and throw up everywhere.


Fudge is not as easy to make as you may (or may not) think - anything with a sugar thermometer is bound to cause a bit of a hassle. The first batch of fudge wasn't heated to the right temperature, so it wouldn't set. The second batch, however, was far more successful. Also, the first batch was re-melted and reheated to avoid waste - leaving a hell of a lot more fudge than originally intended. This stuff is honestly a sugar addict's best dream and worst nightmare.


It's yummy though. You could even give it to someone as a last minute present (not too last minute though -  it takes a lot of time to wait for the fudge to reach the right temperature, then another year or so for it to cool).


Warning: you're going to need someone with good arm strength to stir this.

Recipe:
  • 285ml milk
  • 225g butter
  • 900g granulated sugar (I told you it was sugary)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Grease a 9"x12" tin.
  2. Heat the milk, butter and sugar in a large pan until melted.
  3. Add the golden syrup and condensed milk, and heat gently until it reaches 115oC on a sugar thermometer. Stir occasionally so that it doesn't stick/burn. This will take a while, so be patient.
  4. Take off the heat, and leave to cool for a while, until it is around 80-85oC.
  5. Add the vanilla essence, and beat the mixture for a good while, until it feels grainy and almost comes away from the sides of the pan.
  6. Pour into the tin and leave to cool.


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Day 2: Gingerbread Stained Glass Window Biscuits


Day two of baking, and I thought it'd make sense to bake something useful - food that can be used to decorate a Christmas tree. Well, it's useful if, like me, you've managed to eat pretty much all of the edible decorations on the tree...


Although these look quick and easy, you really should set aside a bit of time. Alternatively, you could just take all electronic devices away and you'll probably get it done in a quarter of the time it took me! However, the dough does have to rest in the fridge for a while, and the rolling out/cutting/baking thing takes quite some time.


These are really fun to make though, and they're a nice addition to a tastefully decorated tree (pun intended). Alternatively, you could just make gingerbread biscuits and eat them. You could even ice them! I was going to decorate mine but I got a bit bored and wanted to watch Fresh Meat instead.


Recipe:
  • 380g plain flour
  • 4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 130g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 150g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp treacle
  • 1 pack of boiled sweets, crushed (I used glacier fruits - word of warning: they are very hard to bash)
  1. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a big bowl.
  2. Rub the butter in.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (minus the boiled sweets) and mix until you have a soft dough - add more flour if it's too sticky.
  4. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  6. Roll out the dough to a decent thickness and cut out shapes, cutting out smaller shapes inside the bigger ones, making sure you leave a large border.
  7. Place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake for 5 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and fill the holes in the biscuits with the crushed boiled sweets
  9. Put back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
  10. Take out of the oven, and if you want to make decorations use a skewer/sharp object to make a hole for a ribbon in the top of the biscuit.
  11. Leave to cool, and thread ribbons through the holes.



Monday, 16 December 2013

12 Days of Christmas Baking - Day 1: Mince Pies



My 12 Days of Christmas Baking challenge has commenced, starting with mince pies! Admittedly, I cheated a little with this - my mum made the mincemeat a week or two ago, and I made the pastry a few days ago. However, that made it super quick to put together and bake, so I would definitely recommend making everything in advance.


I used an assortment of cutters to top the pies, including stars, hearts, circles, mini gingerbread men and flowers. I think it's always nice to have a bit of variety rather than a load of identical pies!


These taste amazing, especially when they're fresh out of the oven... 10/10 would recommend - perfect for eating in front of your computer screen on a cold December day! I don't know why these are confined to the Christmas season, I think we should eat them all year round. Then again, there's probably some cultural reasoning behind that... I'll google it after I've posted this!



If you really want to cheat with these, you could buy the mincemeat and the pastry. You could even buy the mince pies themselves. But where's the fun in that?!

Recipe - the pastry makes enough for around 16 mince pies with tops but the mincemeat makes enough for a mincemeat party (you will end up with enough mincemeat to last you for at least a year, depending on how often you eat mincemeat):

Mincemeat (adapted from Delia's Christmas Mincemeat recipe)
  • 350g Bramley apples, cored & chopped
  • 225g/1 pack shredded suet (we use vegetarian)
  • 350g raisins
  • 225g currants
  • 225g sultanas
  • 225g candied peel, finely chopped
  • 100g dried sour cherries
  • 150g glace cherries, chopped
  • 350g soft dark brown sugar
  • zest & juice of 2 oranges
  • zest & juice of 2 lemons
  • 50g slivered almonds
  • 1/2-1tsp mixed ground spice
  • 6+ tbsp brandy
  • Generous grating of nutmeg
  1. Combine all ingredients, except brandy, in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Cover the bowl & leave overnight/for 12 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 120oC, cover the bowl with foil, leave in oven for 3 hours.
  4. Take it out of the oven and stir it occasionally while it cools.
  5. When it is cold, stir in the brandy. 
  6. Store how you wish - we kept ours in the fridge in bowls for a couple of weeks before using, but you could put them in jars and leave in a cupboard.
Sweet shortcrust pastry:
  • 240g plain flour
  • 120g butter
  • 2 generous tbsp icing sugar, sifter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Very cold water
  1. Rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar.
  2. Mix in the egg yolks, adding some water if necessary, until the pastry comes together.
  3. Chill for a few hours at the least.
Mince Pies:
  1. Preheat the oven to 190oC.
  2. Roll out the pastry to a decent thickness - thick enough to handle, thin enough to cook.
  3. Use a circular cookie cutter to cut circles from the pastry, and place them in a shallow pie/yorkshire pudding tray.
  4. Heap a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into the middle of each pastry circle.
  5. Use cookie cutters to cut tops for your pies and place them on top of the mincemeat.
  6. Cook for 18-20 minutes.
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