Hands up for Christmas Pudding and Pies

I love Christmas. It is a brilliant time of the year for families and friends and good will. And of course good food too.

My Auntie Maureen is a retired home economics teacher and I think all of her students must be spreading the word about her fabulous Christmas baking.  We have been using her recipes for years in the restaurant. They are tried, tested and most importantly loved and we will be sharing her Frangipane Mince Pie and Christmas Pudding Recipe in this blog.

I love Christmas. Good will, good food and good times.

I love Christmas. Good will, good food and good times.

We do have a recipe for gluten free pudding and it is very nice and light – if you want the recipe just pop an email off to the restaurant at info@macneanrestaurant.com

The Frangipane Mince Pies go down a real treat and we make small little mini mince pies and serve them to guests. Frangipane is what you put into a bakewell tart and it is a lovely light alternative mince pie.

I also love giving these mini mince pies to friends and family. Made with love, thought and effort I think they make a lovely gift at Christmas time.

For both these recipes it is very important to buy good quality fruit. 

For the pudding on christmas day slice it and warm it up in the microwave for a couple of seconds. It can be served with a rum custard and also some Christmas pudding ice cream or whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Or all of the above – it is Christmas after all; enjoy yourself!

The mince pies are lovely with some cream or else with some Brandy butter – my mum used to love Brandy butter. Use equal quantities of butter and icing sugar and then lots of Brandy and the rind of an orange and you can add a vanilla pod too.

Here are the recipes. They have brought a lot of joy to our Christmas table and I hope they do the same for you.

Frangipane mince pies

I always freeze a large batch as I find them very handy to have over the Christmas period. For mincemeat that will keep well, use a firm, hard type of eating apple; juicy apples, such as Bramleys, may make the mixture too moist. If time allows leave it to stand for two days, then stir well and put into sterilised jars and cover (as for jam). Allow at least two weeks to mature before using and up to one year is fine.

Makes about 40

FOR THE MINCEMEAT

350g (12 oz) eating apples

225 g (8 oz) raisins

225 g (8 oz) sultanas

225 g (8 oz) currants

100 g (4 oz) mixed peel (preferably home made)

175 g (6 oz) almonds, chopped

175 g (6 oz) dark muscovado sugar

finely grated rind of 1 orange

finely grated rind 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

225 g (8 oz) butter

1/2 teaspoon whiskey

FOR THE PASTRY

100 g (4 oz) butter, chilled and diced, plus extra for greasing

175 g (6 oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting

50 g (2 oz) caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 tablespoon cream

FOR THE ALMOND FILLING

225 g (8 oz) butter

225 g (8 oz) icing sugar

50 g (2 oz) plain flour

225 g (8 oz) ground almonds

4 eggs

large pinch ground cinnamon

1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out

icing sugar, to dust

whipped cream, to serve (optional)

To make the mincemeat, peel and core the apples, then coarsely grate. Place in a large bowl with the raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel, almonds, sugar, orange and lemon rind, spices and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a small pan and allow to cool slightly, then stir into the fruit mixture with the whiskey. Leave for two days to allow the flavours to develop, then pack into sterilised dry jars, seal and store in a cool, dark place.

To make the pastry, place the butter, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Add the egg yolk and cream and blend again until the dough just comes together.  Do not over work or the pastry will be tough.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour.

To make almond filling, using an electric beater, cream the butter and icing sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.  Fold in the flour and almonds and then gradually beat in the eggs, cinnamon and vanilla seeds.  Beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 40 rounds with a 7.5 cm (3 inch) fluted cutter. Line 6 cm (2 1/2 inch) patty tins with the pastry rounds and fill with the mincemeat. Spoon the almond filling on top to cover the mincemeat completely and place in the oven to bake for 10 minutes until cooked through and lightly golden. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve, arrange on plates and dust with icing sugar. Add a small dollop of whipped cream to each plate, if liked.

MacNean Special Plum Pudding

Our special Pudding thanks to Auntie Maureen

Our special Pudding thanks to Auntie Maureen

This pudding is a dense, rich and utterly mouth-watering dessert. In fact it’s so rich that I serve it with lightly whipped cream and not the traditional Brandy Butter. Of course you can serve it with either.

Ingredients

150 g / 6 oz raisins

150 g / 6 oz sultanas

50 g / 2 oz currants

½ small grated carrot

½ diced

50 g / 2 oz mixed peel

½  teaspoon mixed spice

50 g / 2 oz chopped almonds

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

50 g / 2 oz flour

150 g / 6 oz breadcrumbs

Rind and juice of 1 lemon

150 g / 6 oz butter, melted

2 eggs

150 g / 6 oz soft brown sugar

10 fl oz Guinness

Method

Plum Pudding

Sift together flour, mixed spice, nutmeg and cloves. Add breadcrumbs, raisins, sultanas, peel, almonds, apple, grated carrot and rind and juice of lemon and melted butter.  Beat eggs and gradually add to mixture with Guinness.  Mix thoroughly, cover with tea towel and leave overnight. Next day, place the mixture in 2 prepared 2 pint pudding bowls. Cover with greased paper and lid.  Stand bowl in a large cake tin and fill the tin ¾ full of boiling water. Cover completely with foil. 

Bake in a hot oven at 150°C / Gas 2 for 6-8 hours. Or you can steam for 6 hours in the usual way. Cool, cover again with greaseproof paper and store in a cool dry place. On Christmas day cover again with greased greaseproof paper and lid.  Steam for 2-3 hours. 

To Serve

In a bowl or on a plate, with a dollop of lightly whipped cream or brandy custard

Tip

If you must light the Pudding, do please be careful with the amount of alcohol you pour on. I find that 1 tbsp of heated brandy works a just fine.

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2 Responses to Hands up for Christmas Pudding and Pies

  1. Pingback: Hands up for Christmas Pudding and Pies | drinkawaste.com

  2. Niamh Ni Dhonncha says:

    Hi I’ve made the mincemeat filling and I’ll really looking forward to it!! I’m wondering if I would make the pastry beforehand and then freeze it? Thanks

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