Tag Archives: icing sugar

Time to bake Mince Pies!

DSC083152015 has been quite a hectic year and with 2016 fast approaching, I decided to drag at least one recipe from oblivion and re-post it here, this is more as a way to feel that I did, indeed, do something about the blog before the year’s end, that because I’m desperate to write today.

I think the best thing about these mince pies is the pastry, you can use the same mix to make really, really delicious apple pies (I highly recommend them). 
DSC08318I love to keep things traditional during Christmas, at home we eat Pan Dulce (an Argentine cousin of Italian Pannetone), and even though everyone seems to be falling for it, I refuse to buy those chocolate chips pan dulces that are popping everywhere. Chocolate chip? On my  pannetone? I don’t think so! So, yes, I understand the importance of keeping the flavours we grew up with during the holiday season.

But I’m not against a teeny-weeny tweak here and there, you can call this coconut oil pastry a teeny-weeny tweak.

 So, without further ado, Christmas is almost on top of us after all, here is the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 pies approx.):

100g coconut oil

300g plain flour

2 egg yolks

50ml cold water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 jar of mincemeat.

How to:

1.- In a bowl place the flour and the salt. Mix together and then add the coconut oil.

DSC082382.- With your fingers rub the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it resembles bread crumbs.

DSC08240Coconut oil isn’t as pliable as butter, so it is harder to rub it into the flour. The little lumps of oil are tougher than their butter equivalents; but be patient, it can be done.

I haven’t tried using a blender. You can try it though, and if it works, then making these pies will be a breeze.

3.- Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks, vanilla essence and the water.

DSC082414.- Mix everything by hand until you have a dough that comes off the sides of the bowl. Don’t overwork the dough or it will make a tough pastry. Just mix enough for the wet ingredients to permeate the dry ones and then press everything together to form a ball.

DSC082535.-Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for 1 hour, ideally for 2.

6.- After 1-2 hours, take the dough out of the fridge. You can then lightly flour a surface  and roll out your dough; or you can spread a rectangle of cling film on your working top, place the dough on it, and then cover loosely with another cling film sheet and roll out the pastry through the cling film; that way, the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling-pin and you avoid using too much flour, which will also make your pastry tough. Roll out to a 3mm thickness.

DSC082677.- Cut circles of 4-5 cm diameter, depending on the size you want your mince pies to be. Try not to make them too big that they are difficult to eat, or too small, because they won’t take enough filling.

8.- Spread 1 -2 teaspoons of filling into one of the circles, then paint around the edges with a bit of water or egg white so that the top of the pie will stick to the bottom. Take a second circle,  prick it with a fork and place on top of the filling.

DSC082699.- Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the tarts….
DSC0827110.- Continue with the rest of the pastry.

DSC0827711.- Place in the fridge for 30 mins and then bake or freeze them wrapped in cling film.

12.- To bake them: Preheated your oven at 200 C. Place the pies on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

DSC0830513.- You can prepare a simple glaze with 1/2 cup of icing sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice to cover them once they are cold. If you want your icing to be super white, like in the photos, the add 1 teaspoon of egg whites to your icing sugar/lemon mix and whisk everything together until soft and fluffy.

DSC08316Merry Christmas!!

Paula

Spice & Chocolate Christmas Cookies

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These are amazing cookies. They are crunchy and full of flavour, and if you take some time to decorate them, you can even hung them from your Christmas tree as little ornaments.

The list of spices is rather long but if all you have is cocoa powder, cinnamon and ginger, you’ll still manage to make pretty decent cookies with this recipe. I’ll recommend you try to gather as many of the spices in the recipe though, because it really makes a difference to the final product.

Ingredients (makes 18-25 depending on size of cutters):

2 cups of flour

2 fat tablespoons of  cocoa powder (I use Bournville, which has no added sugar and is very good)

3/4 cup of honey

80 g coconut oil (or you can replace it with 100g butter)

1 egg.

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground  ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

(and if you manage to get your hands on some: 1/2 a tonka  bean, grated.)

Zest of 1 lemon

pinch of salt

To decorate: 

250 g icing sugar

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice.

Sprinkles, m&ms, edible glitter etc.

How to:

1.- In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and grated tonka bean.

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2.- In another bowl beat the honey with the coconut oil (or butter) at room temperature until the mixture becomes creamy,  light and pale.

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3.- Add the egg and lemon zest to the mixture of honey and coconut oil. Whisk until the mixture is smooth (it will look as if it were curdling at first, but keep whisking until everything comes together).

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4.- Add the dry ingredients and using  wooden spoon mix everything until you have a pliable, soft dough. If the mixture is too dry (this happened to me because my egg was too small), add either 1 egg yolk and keep the egg whites for the royal icing, or slowly add some milk (a bit at a time, remember you don’t want you dough to be too wet).

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5.- Place in the fridge, wrapped in cling film for 1 hour. If you want, you can keep this dough in the freezer for up to 1 month; then take it out the night before you want to use it and place in the fridge. In the morning it will be ready to be rolled and cut out.

6.- After an hour, roll the dough out in between two sheets of baking paper. Roll to a 3mm thickness. Then cut your cookies and place them in the fridge, again, for 1 hour (or freezer for 15 minutes) before baking.

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7.- Bake for 7 minutes in a preheated oven at 180. They should be dry and only slightly browned. Place in a rack to cool…

DSC08520While the cookies cool down, you can prepare the icing by whisking together the egg white with the icing sugar and a few drops of lemon juice…

DSC08522Whisk for 5 minutes, until you get a soft, creamy texture. Your icing should be runny enough that you can pipe it easily, but not so runny that it dribbles down the cookie.

To decorate, you can pipe different designs, add some sparkles for colour or simply follow the edges of each cookie with a bit of white icing.

Make sure you have everything you need before you start decorating, as that will keep mess to a minimum.

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Enjoy Christmas better with some home-made treats!

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Namaste,

Paula