They say that there is snow on the way again. Will it look like this in my back garden again?
I hope so.
Will the scarlet berries be weighed down by the weight of the flakes?
I hope so.
Will Tommy from the stables next door be able to walk in the road again?
I hope so.
So what does one do when there is a storm on the way and Christmas round the corner and everything is getting a little bit too exciting?
One bakes something Christmassy.
Yesterday was one of those ‘afternoons before Christmas’ afternoons. We were all in the kitchen with the radio on and the oven pumping out the smell of freshly baked pastry.
The babies were shown their first ever Mince Pies but were not allowed to taste one. No matter how much they grabbed and hollered. Soon angels, perhaps even next Christmas.
They like to have something to look at and something that makes them feel like they are involved with grown-up things. Ned is with Grandma (Robert the Husband’s mum). Grandma moved all the way down from Shropshire to be with us and now lives very nearby. We’re so lucky to have the family close. It means that all of the kids are growing up with a huge extended group of people around them and that is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a teenager. I’m thirty five now and it’s only just happening. Some things you have to wait for I guess.
Anyway, back to the baking.
It is now very close to Christmas and most of us will have many things coursing through our minds at this time. What we have done, what we haven’t done, what we’d like to do and what we’ll get done realistically.
I did not make mincemeat for mince pies this year. Nope. I made stockings for my children instead and a great many roast dinners for friends. I had to choose what it was I wanted to spend my time doing and try to fit it all in.
But the predicament I found myself in was that I still wanted to have freshly baked mince pies in the house.
So I did what every person would do when they feel like Christmas is creeping up on them like a tidal wave of jobs…..I cheated. But, BUT, I also added a wee touch that made me happy to think that although all of the ingreeds were shop bought there was still something of the ‘homemade’ about them.
This is what I did……
- I bought two blocks of Dessert Pastry and rolled it out in my kitchen on a December afternoon
- Then I cut out circular shapes and popped them in to a greased cake tin as the radio played Christmas tunes
- I placed a teaspoon of the best shop mincemeat I could find in to each pastry case and hummed along to the music
- Then I rolled out another piece of pastry and as my children yelped at all the activity I cut out star shapes that would serve as the tops of the pies
- I noticed that my star shapes were a little smaller than the tops of the pies which made me happy as then the mincemeat would show through and look very ‘country’
- I placed the tops of the pies on a SEPARATE baking sheet and placed both the tops and the filled pie cases in an pre-heated oven at 200c
- I chatted with my mother in law and sister about Christmas, played with babies and cleared up as the pies and pie tops cooked
- After about fifteen minutes I took the pies and the pie tops out of the oven and allowed them to cool completely
- In my food mixer I placed 100g of unsalted butter, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 300g of icing sugar
- I whisked it up until it was light and fluffy and then I placed it in to a piping bag with a huge nozzle
- As the afternoon sky got darker and darker and the babies played on their brand new mat I piped a huge squirt of butter cream on to the top of the mincemeat
- Then I placed a star shaped pastry lid on top of the buttercream
- And then we ate most of them
Of course I saved some of the mince pies for when Robert came in and sent what were left home with Grandma and Jodie.
I got a text from my dad later on in the evening saying that they were the best mince pies he had ever had. This worried me slightly as everything apart from the butter-cream was shop bought (!!!!!!!!)
Hmmmm, next year I may just have to have a go at fitting in some mincemeat making as I’m not being beaten by a shop!
Am I Ned?
That’s right son. You carry on being this agreeable and we’ll get along just fine.
I love you and thank you for reading. Have a great Thursday. It’s one of favourite my days of the week.
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