There, it's out and I feel much better but unfortunately it won't go away until the big day gets here. So once again, I'm sorry.
Now lets get on.
I've started making mince pies, although I don't know why I bother so early as they never last for Christmas. I made quite a few yesterday, as you can see:
And now they're gone!
So I'm making some more. It's not too complicated (it can't be, for me) and doesn't take too long -thank goodness. The only hard part is keeping everyone away to give the pies enough time to cool down.
I'm sure most people have their own way of making them but I wanted to add my tuppence as well.
8oz plain flour
4 oz butter (softened)
2oz caster sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
Jar of Mincemeat (I cheat)
Heat your oven to Gas Mark 8 / 230C / 450F.
Grease a bun tray. I use a shallow tray to make smaller pies so if your tray is more muffin size, you might want to double the recipe.
Put the plain flour, butter, caster sugar and salt into a bowl and, using your fingertips, rub everything together to mix the butter with the dry ingredients. It should after a few minutes look like soft breadcrumbs.
Add your water a tablespoon at a time and mix together. This will bind it but you don't want it too wet as the butter in the mixture will make it greasier the more you handle it.
Divide your mixture in two and roll out the first half quite thinly. Cut into larger rounds using a cookie cutter. If you don't have one then a cup or round lid would do.
Place the rounds into your baking tin and gently press down. Fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Try not to overfill as will leak out when cooking.
Lightly wet the edges of the pastry. You don't need a pastry brush, dipping your finger into water will be fine.
Roll out the second half of pastry and cut into smaller rounds for the lids. Place onto the larger halves and press gently down.
Using a sharp knife put a small hole in the top of each of your pies to let the steam escape when cooking.
Put the pies into the top half of your oven and cook for 20 minutes. I have a look at 15 minutes and because my oven can be a bit temperamental, I then turn the tray around and continue cooking for the last 5 minutes so the mince pies are evenly lightly golden.
When they have cooked leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before putting onto a wire rack or plate.
I like to dust them with icing sugar but you could also use any other sugar on top or eat them plain - I have.
I apologise to anyone reading this who thinks that this is just a little bit basic but I do not assume that everyone makes cakes/mince pies etc. And if you don't want to do it, then you don't have to do it.
But to anyone who decides to make these I can tell you that they taste great and won't last long.