Friday 23 December 2011

The Best Mince Pie Pastry Recipe Ever (or so I think!) And Some Other Christmassy Things...

Here we have... third Eva's shawl. I managed to finish it in good time for posting. I really like the grey now it's done though it wasn't terribly interesting during the making stage.

The (rather lovely and also free!) pattern is here. You can buy Drops Delight yarn here (though now Drops is in the process of being discontinued from this supplier).

As to the rest of Christmas, I don't think I'm as organised as I was last year but I think we'll be OK. Everything that needs bought has been bought which is always good. I managed a few makes (presents, decorations, baking), not as many as I'd have liked but enough. However, the house is a tip and I'll need to try and sort that tonight and tomorrow morning.

I made our usual Christmas cake - Nigella's chocolate fruit cake. The recipe is in her Feast and Christmas books, and I have found it on line in the past.

The little matchbox nativity is back in front of the clock on the mantlepiece...

...which is looking very festive.

Mince pies. This is how they look when you drop the camera in amongst them while trying to photograph them!

I noticed from my blog last year that I wasn't planning to bother making them again. However, one of my brothers and I had a mince pie contest last Christmas and his tasted delicious, far better than the ones I'd made last year and better than shop bought too. His secret - our Mum's mince pie pastry recipe. It has a small amount of sugar in it which I think makes a difference. Here it is for you:-

Mince Pie Pastry

6 oz marg / butter
2 oz caster sugar
9 oz plain flour
1 egg yolk

Cream sugar & fat. Add egg yolk. Add flour gradually while mixing.
Roll 1/4 " thick
Make up pies
Bake @ 400F / 200C/ Gas mark 6 for approx 10 mins (this leaves them pale for later reheating).

For this number of pies I used a double batch of pastry.

I still had some mincemeat left over, so I just added it to a batch of muffin mixture to make mincemeat muffins.

These dangling snowflakes are my favourite Christmas decoration.

I've made some more since taking this photo (the snow's gone now too). I've seen far more impressive snowflake curtains on flickr but I'll add to our collection for next year. I love how they twirl gently around (perhaps you need a draughty house for this particular effect). I am rather fussy about one aspect of paper snowflakes though - they must have six points as per real snowflakes. Folding your paper circle in half, folding this half by three, then folding in half again before cutting does the trick. Please, no more eight pointed snowflakes!

Fabulous shadows are cast by a Christmas cactus plant on a sunny day.

Hmmm, not seen a bird like that before.

The milk bottles have their Christmas tops on.

I eventually got round to taking the holly inside. There are still berries on the tree, the birds are very late to eat them this year.

Today I made more gingerbread biscuit with some new cutters. I couldn't resist creating this little woodland scene.

My helpers then decorate them before they are baked. I had expected the pack of mini smarties to last the whole batch of dough, I obviously underestimated the decorating density deemed necessary. We had to switch to currants half way through, which actually taste better anyway.

This will probably be my last post before Christmas though I will still be logging in to read other blogs. I hope you all have a lovely time. Good health & good cheer!


Jackie said...

You've certainly been very busy with all that baking ~ it all looks very yummy. I love that little matchbox nativity ~ it is so sweet! Hope that you have a very Merry Christmas :O)xx

Stocki said...

Your Eva Shawl is so beautiful...what a lovely present to give....full of thought and loveliness! I love your snowflakes too...and the mantel piece looks so homely and welcoming... I hope you and your family have a very happy Christmas :)

Beth of The Linen Cat said...

You have been busy! I love the idea of mincemeat muffins and I'm kind fo sad now I didn't make time for some mince pies (I love the star tops) but was we are away for the day itself there doesn't seem much point.

I hope the house cleaning goes well and you have a lovely Christmas. Beth

Selfsewn said...

mmm a lovely festive post, have a wonderful time xx

June said...

Gorgeous shawl! Love the photo of the cat on the bird feeding table!
Have a Great Christmas!

Rustic Vintage Country said...

Everything looks gorgeous there! I wish I'd had the presence of mind to photograph my mince pies I made this morning or should I say the first one I pulled from the baking tin which somehow?? managed to jump out of my hand onto the kitchen floor, splat!!.....never mind, plenty left. Merry Christmas.

YarnRoundHook said...

I just made my mince pies this evening. Eating a shop bought one was enough to convince me it's worth making your own (although I buy the mincemeat)!
Your snowflake decorations are lovely and I totally agree that they have to have 6 points!
Happy Christmas x

Rattling On said...

I made gingerbread and iced the cakes this afternoon. Just taking a mini-break from wrapping. Again!
Love the shawl, beautiful colours.

Lyn said...

What a lovely Christmassy Post!
I love the shadows of the plant...although I am missing the sun at the moment around here!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you an your family.
xxx said...

Obviously this is a proper Christmas. Here in Spain not everybody enjoys the snow...
Congratulations for the blog.
Happy Christmas!!!!!!!!

Mac n' Janet said...

Your house looks very Christmasy and must smell like heaven, have a merry Christmas!

Mereknits said...

Your house looks gorgeous and I bet it smells fantastic with all the yummy baked goods you have been making. Your shawl turned out perfect. Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family.

Simone said...

A lovely post as usual! I hope you have a lovely Christmas. x

Clicky Needles said...

Have a a super Christmas.
Clicky Needles x

Unknown said...

Love the snowflakes in the window, they look beautiful, as does your shawl. Merry Christmas!

driftwood said...

oh so many lovely things! the shawl, the baking, the snowflakes.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas x

Helsie said...

Merry christmas to all.
I'm so stuffed I can hardly waddle to the computer. We are not long home from our all day family Christmas but I've been stretched out in my recliner chair since we stumbled back through the door!
Hope you have a nice day too.
I'm not moving much tomorrow... or eating again either ( famous last words ?!!)

Mrs. Micawber said...

I agree with you about the six points on snowflakes! Although it is sometimes difficult for me to fold the half into thirds.

I love your shadow picture - I've got some of ivy leaves and Christmas tree branches which I hope to work into a post.

What an adorable Nativity set.

Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas! I'm so glad to have "met" you this year.

P.S. My house looked like a whirlwind had gone through...yours isn't so bad.

Janice Kay Schaub said...

I just have to try your pastry. My mum made the most amazing mince pies. I never learned to make pastry and I am thinking that small pies would be a great place to begin. Thanks. I just have to convert to American weights and measures.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anne.
Not having young children around during the festive season I dont celebrate Christmas much but just seeing your photos and artwork of the event makes me feel I,ve not missed it entirely.Always like your matching colours and designs.
Hope you had a nice Christmas.Its always more fun when you make it yourself.


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