Of course Trota is not that easily fooled…imagine trying to smuggle mince into the mince pies!
Signature chocolate mince pies
Despite Fidget’s efforts the Rowes are getting into festive gear and, inspired by the December issue of Delicious magazine, have opted for a slightly unusual combination: chocolate and mince pies. And why not? The original recipe is from chocolatier Paul A Young – adapted to suit the Rowes’ party needs (the amounts indicated will make 18–20 regular mince pies or 30–35 minis).
But first, Fidget wants to come clean on one particular point: the mincemeat was shop-bought (Waitrose brandy style) and – whatever he might have been planning – it didn’t come from the butcher’s counter.
So to start, for the sweet pastry you will need 240g unsalted butter (softened), 110g caster sugar, 3 egg yolks and 375g plain flour. Cream the butter with the sugar and add the egg yolks. Then add the flour and mix with your hands to create a ball of pastry; put this in the fridge to chill (wrapped in cling film) for about an hour.
When chilled, roll the pastry out and cut it with a large, round biscuit cutter (using the discs to line the holes of a buttered muffin tin) or – if you have one – use a pastry pusher*, which is what Fidget did: put a ball of pastry into each muffin hole and press down with your pastry pusher to create the case. Once you have used up all the pastry put the lined tin back in the fridge to chill for another 20 minutes or so, while you make the chocolate topping.
For the brownie-chocolate topping you will need 135g salted butter, 40g honey, 200g caster sugar, 240g dark chocolate (70% cocoa, broken into small pieces), 3 whole eggs and 55g plain flour. This will probably make more than you need but you can bake what’s left of the mixture and make brownies. On a low heat melt the butter, add the honey, then the sugar and mix until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and put in the chocolate to soften. Keep stirring, add the eggs and finally beat in the flour so that the mix is well amalgamated.
To assemble: get your chilled pastry cases out of the fridge, 1/3 fill each with the mincemeat then top with chocolate brownie mixture, leaving a small border at the top.
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 175°/gas 3½ for 25–30min, until the pastry is cooked and golden. Let the mince pies cool in the tin for 20 minutes or so then carefully remove from their moulds.
Before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar or chopped nuts (or, as Fidget did, with chopped pistachios). One thing you can be sure of: they won’t hang around for long…
* Pastry pusher from Lakeland (Fidget Approved)