Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mince Pies for christmas

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without Mince Pies. Why? Take a look at this easy Christmas Mince Pie Recipe full of rich, sticky, sweet fruits wrapped in pastry. Delicious.

Mince pies have been eaten as part of a traditional British Christmas since as long ago as the 16th century. Then they were made of meat but are now made with sweet mincemeat; a mixture of dried fruits, sugar, spices and brandy. Home made mincemeat is quick and easy to make and there are also many great commercial brands out there to use instead.

Shortcrust pastry, using lard (or crisco) as well as butter is my favorite

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: Depends on size of tin used.


  • 12 oz/350g all purpose/plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8oz/ 225g butter, cubed or an equal mix of butter and lard
  • 1 beaten egg + 1 cold water as needed
  • 1 jar of mincemeat, shop bought or home made
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar


Heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6
Make the Pastry
  • Place the flour, butter and salt into a large clean bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough becoming warm.
  • Add the egg to the mixture and using a cold knife stir, add cold water a teaspoon at a time until the mixture binds but don't make it too wet that it is sticky.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes, up to 30 minutes.
The dough can also be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter and salt in the bowl of the processor on a pulse setting. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the egg a slowly, through the funnel until the dough, then add water a tsp at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill as above.

Assemble the Pies
  • Choose a muffin or bun tin for the size of the pie you want. Choose from a standard 12-cup muffin tin down to small canapĂ© size. The number of pies will depend on the size of cup you choose.
  • Dust a work surface lightly with a little flour and roll out two-thirds of the pastry to 1/8"/3mm thick. Cut circles to line the cups of your tin, don't worry if the pastry doesn't come to the top.
  • Fill the pastry lined tins 2/3 full with mincemeat.
  • Roll out the remaining pastry to the same thickness and cut smaller circles to fit as lids on the tarts or to be decorative, cut stars or other fancy shapes.
  • Dampen the edges of the tart bases with a little cold water and press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape (you can omit this if using star-shaped lids).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins (15 mins if making canape size) or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the icing sugar.

    Mince pies are delicious served hot or cold on their own or with Brandy Butter. They will keep well if placed in an airtight tin - up to seven days. Sometimes they benefit from a gentle warming in the oven before serving. 
thanks to british food

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake

I never thought I would be using pumpkin so much! I got this recipe off my mum - its really easy and very moist and tasty. I made it for Thanksgiving Lunch as a Dessert.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbs mixed spices (i used cinnamon, ginger and all spice with a dash of cloves)
3 eggs
1/1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin - I actually used the canned one here and its not that bad!

Sift first 4 ingredients together.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
Add the pumpkin and beat some more.
Add the dry ingredients.

You can divide mixture in 2 pans or use one.
Bake at 350 for about 40 mins or until cake passes the toothpick test.
Let cool.

I used a cream cheese topping made this way:
8oz cream cheese ( a packet of Philly)
2 cups  icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup butter  (melt 1/4 cup until browned then pour it over the rest until all is melted)
Put all in a bowl and beat well

Cut cake in half and spread mixture on one piece, use the rest of the topping to cover the cake.
I also used some crushed walnuts as decoration.

The colour of the cake rather surprised me - its rather orange!!But looks great with the white topping!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Biscotti for Xmas

We are having a great promotion for Xmas - from now until December 13th, all orders from FeliceBiscotti will have a little something extra and also be gift wrapped!
what are you waiting for?
You can also build your own biscotti and have them customized to your taste

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All the recipes here have either been sent to me, adapted by me or found on the web. If I know the source I always give credit to the author/website. If you know of a source I may have missed please let me know.