Lovely Run, Terrible Minced Spies

Had a lovely post c25k time and a great run this morning. Nothing earth-shattering, just a steady early morning trot about the countryside feeling at peace with the world. Then, still at peace and one-ness I thought this is the morning to tackle mince pies. Never made 'em before, but as a c25k-er I am now an invincible achiever. If Jamie, Delia, Nigella, Tom (Kerridge), Mary and Paul can manage, then so can I. Today is the day for Mince Pies.

Here is how NOT to do them:

1. Make own mincemeat with combo of Delia, Nigel Slater and some random ingredients which match the general colour scheme. This bit was ok. Has anyone tasted raw veg or non-veg suet? Don't. Bit like that stuff the dish-washer collects around the filter after a few weeks.

2. Buy nice new non-stick bun tin because nothing in the enormous stock of inherited and ancient tinnery has individual holes.

3. Unwrap bought pastry. Roll in sugar instead of flour cos you think it will make boring pastry into glamorous pate sucre. It won't. It turns boring pastry into stuff which will weld itself, aided by 4 & 5 below, to new non-stick tin with an enthusiasm not foreseen by Tefal.

4. Don't listen to the '1 teaspoon of mincemeat' advice. Looks far too stingy so put 2 extra dollops in.

5. Make lids slightly too small then try to stretch them to fit. Glue them down securely with egg. Oh, and forget to poke holes in the top otherwise you won't get that exploded pressure cooker effect, helped by the overfill alluded to in 4, which helps with the welding to pan mentioned in 3.

6. Follow Delia's instructions for oven and all will be well. Apart from, of course, exploding lids which leak most of the mincemeat over the edges to combine with the faux-sugar pastry to make edible supa-glue for those who don't care about dentistry costs.

7. Ferret around in cutlery drawer for the right tool to persuade pies to leave tin without damaging new tin. Give that up and go for sharpest possible object for mince pie mining.

8. Place the bits, lid-side down cos that is the only bit left really, on plate and present to husband as mini mince biscuit flans with crumble type topping.

9. Watch husband's face carefully and defiantly for signs of constitutional weakness.

Did Laura ever do a tute on mince pies?


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37 Replies

  • Ah. We've all been there! I've been perfecting mine over many years now and can honestly say there are none finer in all Christendom. There have been many, many disasters before the achievement of perfection though! Don't sweat it - they all go down the same way!

  • Oh I now have mince pie envy. I suspect my 'no sugar for the dogs' rule will be ignored when I am not looking ;)

  • My cat is weird - she won't eat tuna or bacon or anything cats normally beg for. But she does like sugar!

  • Has she shinned up the Christmas tree yet :D

  • No but she loves attacking the rug it's sitting on. She's getting a bit middle aged for shinning up the tree, but I think she considered it before going for the easy option. She is often to be found hanging off my curtains as she likes to bring in live mice and they run up the linings! Such fun!

  • You said curtains. I think you meant the colour-matched climbing wall for cats.

  • Delia mincemeat, made a few weeks ago. Pastry dead easy in moulinex - 170g plain flour, 100g unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1 egg yolk, cold water to bind, 10 mins in fridge. I usually butter my tins, though you aren't supposed to need to if the ration of fat to flour is more than 50%. Keep this recipe for next year as I'm sure you don't feel like a repeat performance today!!!

  • Aw, thanks. Have a magi-mixer thing, though haven't seen it for about 3 years, so probably in a packing box somewhere. Will send search dog for it. No one said anything about buttering tins, that could be a top tip.

    Will give this a go before New Year cos still got enough mincemeat for a battalion Xmas tea.

  • Hilarious! I just buy mine!

  • I usually buy everything too IP but this was supposed to be the year of domestic goddess not domestic disastrous. Still, on the bright side there can only be improvement from here!

  • Sounds like you cook the same way I do. My partner calls it 'inventing' when I'm in b the kitchen. They certainly can be a flop, but when it works it's brilliant.

    Happy running, happy inventing :)

  • Love your take on kitchen creativity. No one has ever said anything as complimentary as 'cook' to describe what I produce from the kitchen. Mostly it is either sweet or savoury brown. No idea why, but everything seems to turn out brown.

  • Oh my! You may be learning to make mince pies the hard way but you'd be a dab hand at writing comedy! That was so very well written that I reckon you could make a fortune on that post alone! :D

    I'm sure the next lot you make will be absolute perfection :) I'm afraid I take the lazy route and buy mine (plus they always turn out better than mine ever did) Happy Christmas :D

  • Ha! like your optimism Hilbean - from experience I can guess that the next batch will also be dire, but I am nothing if not keen to try.

    Wish cooking was as easy as blurbing. Words are so much easier to work with than ingredients and methods and other complications presented to us as simplicity by the kitchen gods from the telly. Must take the plug off the telly.

  • My mum always used to reckon that when it came to baking the sweet stuff you were either good at pastry or cakes (something to do with how cold your hands are?) Doesn't quite work though because I make great pastry for flans but my mince pies never seemed to quite work out. Apart from my mince pies I remain optimistic for everything else, so good luck with your next batch ;)

  • Our mam tried her very best with me and, give her her due, never actually gave up on me as a cookery apprentice. Can't use warm hands as an excuse - our gaff is always freezing (renovation, half the amount of radiators required for normal survival levels).

  • Well, between your cold hands and useitorloseit's recipe maybe you'll be on to a winner ;)

  • Ain't that the truth. I think I have watched every Christmas cooking programme ever made in the last week, and will be tackling ... not much ... well maybe just a few things ... I trust Mary Berry a lot more than Paul Hollywood, but might be attempting a panettone later!

  • Weird relationship that. Like naughty boy/school marm but with an teensy edge of ince... I mean sauciness.

    Good luck with the panettone. That's proper advanced that is.

  • Such smut! And at Christmas and all! Decided to leave the panettone till tomorrow as it needs to sit overnight (or for quite a few hours) before going in the oven, and if I do it now it will clash with the oven time needed for the turkey. That would not go down well with the Christmas chef (i.e. husb)!

  • I found the perfect solution for this problem, marry a man who can make mince pies! Last time I tried I had to soak the tin with the mince pies in to get it clean - not very edible after that!

  • Thing is I married a cook who can turn out amazing things but he doesn't really do cakes or puds. Good in many ways, but I just had a silly old notion that mince pies wouldn't be that difficult. By the way, I believe you could rebrand soggy mince pies rinsed from the burnt on tin as Mince pie cordial. We gotta keep positive here. :D

  • haha a great recipe to follow or not :) fraid i would have done the right thing and said they looked and tasted very nice :D then hope to god you dont make more :D only joking :D

  • Husband said: 'you are to Masterchef as a classical artist is to the Turner Prize' I think this meant I hope to God you don't make any more. But Rob I refuse to be defeated by a mince pie. I am a c25k-er for gawdsake. I now can do stuff previously only available to runners. Has anyone else now got a sense of being all-conquering because of this running lark. P'raps I need a counselling. They have a couch for that :D :D

  • You are so right ,having completed C25K it does give the feeling of any thing is possible :D (ecept maybe mince pies) i tried doing suasage rolls last year , lets just say i couldnt get away with saying they were char grilled haha it would need to e a pretty big couch to fit all us running nuts on :D

  • Well at least I am not alone on the inverse-Masterchef couch :D I specialise in making my own charcoal from a diverse set of ingredients. Need a cattle prod wired to my oven timer which has no sympathy with the 'yes, yes, in a minute' attitude.

  • Oh Slookie , ha ha :-) I think you should put a warning sign saying " DANGER, HAZARDOUS MATERIAL " on the kitchen door and then lounge on the sofa with your Violet Creams and watch the " Gruffalo "

    Top, top post, and I agree with Hilly, your writing is brilliantly funny. I really think you should consider a career as a scriptwriter for the BBC, but don't abandon on us here . We would miss you too much ! :-) xxx

  • Just finishing my new sign ...

    Just typed a response here and it has been eaten (unlike the minspyes). Was just saying, before I was so rudely deleted, how I really fancy meself lounging about in purple silk pyjams in Bette Davis style, resting me hollywood hairdoo on an enormous satin cushion stuffing violent creams. In reality, I will be fighting for space on the sofa with the dogs, trying to wrestle the remote from husb or from under whichever dog is lying on it and reaching for the sherry in case of medical emergencies like hyperventilation because I lost the remote control fight.

  • Oh , we could be twins ! I like to recline on my chaise longue in full evening gown and velveteen slippers whilst dictating my posts to my personal secretary. Fancy that ! :-D xxx

  • I dunno but she shoulda done! Cover em in icing sugar to disguise disasters! I know what you mean about the composty whiff. I got that with some carrot cake I made t'other week. Fresh carrots supposedly. Hmmm

    It makes me so sick with envy that everything happens so seamlessly for everyone else, cept praps us Slookie! As soon as I embark on a project the knives are out for me, it would seem. Sooper dooper non-stick my arris! Mary's mince pies leave the tin with aplomb and slide perfectly onto doyleyed plate. Mine need a crowbar. I'm with you on overfilling though. Don't wanna be stingy! LOL How come you have to butter non-stick tins? The clue's in the name. I'm takin em back and asking for a refund. They can have the welded on gunk for free.

    If you wonder where the pie tops went I would suggest peering into the oven and looking up. You'll find them stuck to the top of the oven. How they get there is a thus far unexplained phenomenon. Something to do with physics. What goes up, must come down. They'll descend n their own good time and you can rehash them as a stew with a cobbler topping. Yummy

  • Like the idea of devolving responsibility to Waitrose for non-non-stickiness. Bet Tesco (ex)management wish they had a Teflon coating at the moment!

    Just going to look at the oven roof. In fact, thank you for pointing this out. I have never looked at an oven roof before and assumed it was just dark sky like outside.

    Newton's law has not yet reached the oven. Do you remember that ad for wearing hard hats:

    an apple falls down from the sky

    and from this fact it's very plain

    all other objects do the same

    a brick, a bar, a bolt, a cup

    invariably things go down not up ... etc.

    Never did physics. Our teacher went off with a nervous breakdown in 1st year and we had the careers teacher reading the text book along with us for the remainder of the course. But we did learn an explanation for the follow-through after a coughing fit thus: for every action ...

    Gawd, rambling. Need to be in a negative sherry situation.

  • I had to laugh at You've Been Framed Christmas special. They did a slot of Christmas tree disasters! Hilarious. Three cats up one tree. Ouch!

  • Just going to see if I can get it on watch again. Were they called Bold, Frankie-Scent

    and Mirth? The rescue long-nose dog is now housetrained and I was very reluctant to bring the outdoors inside just in case it was testing resolve a bit too far, but so far the lights remain unfused and the baubles (a bigger selection of tat you have never seen) remain unmolested. Pray for the tree.

  • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha :D :D :D Slookie you're hilarious. Happy Christmas m'dear x

  • And on only the one sherry. Must put child lock on the keyboard after the 2nd! Don't normally imbibe this early you understand but wot with it being Crimbles and all ...

    Happy Christmas AM and look forward to reading your posties in 2015! xx

  • Fantastic! Think of it this way: if you'd eaten them all, you'd have to have run milesandmilesandmiles to run them off :D And not only that, but no one ever gets it right the first time. You will conquer these mince pies! You can make pannetone! I always approach cooking in an impressionistic manner and make it up as I go along, but baking is serious chemistry and does not allow liberties to be taken. Anyway, hope you have a wonderful Christmas - everything will be fine after that xx

  • Thanks Annie. Love the impressionistic cooking style idea and will aspire to it. Mine is more an accidental Jackson Pollock look or something Tracey Emin might find under her bed (yuk)!

    Never mind though, I will persevere because I can run for 30 mins so I can blimmin well tackle the mince pie. Who invented them anyway. Stoopid idea if you ask me nuffin :D

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