Orange Mince Pie Pastry

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI’ve always been mad about Christmas even though as a child, it was not something we celebrated. My cousins, who are half German always did Christmas in a big way. My aunt used to bake up a storm, fiercely guarding her recipes – I most remember the almond star cookies with the cinnamon  meringue tops that she always made without fail. (Luckily, Ginger recently posted a traditional recipe for these so I can make them now!) And they always had a big, gaily decorated tree in their sitting room, which I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI begged and whined every year for a tree and one year, we finally got one BUT – it was unceremoniously parked outside the doors to the verandah at the rear of our house and we had no decorations – I improvised with colourful metallic sweetie wrappers which I twisted to look like bows and oh, how I loved that tree.  I sound so deprived but I wasn’t really. We were living in Nairobi, engaging mainly with our huge and extended Muslim family and it just wasn’t the done thing to celebrate Christmas – we had Eid, of course.

Needless to say, my first Christmas on my own included the largest tree we could get into the flat, strung with so many lights that we probably caused a dent in the national grid every time they were turned on. It was so laden with ornaments that the branches were bowing under their weight.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableSince then, I have refined my tree decorating and have strings and strings of soft white lights – no coloured lights and certainly no flashing in time to music – which are wired to the branches so that they sit perfectly without any visible wires. There is no tinsel, no garland just lots of pretty, sparkly red, silver and gold ornaments and baubles, which have been amassed (amassed, being the key word) over the years.

Jake used to have a little tree in his room, which I do understand may be thought of as a little excessive but I had lost time to make up for! This little tree had very colourful ornaments and baubles – a practice, I am so happy to hear, that has been taken up by a friend, for her twin boys. Anyway, the bottom line is that I am just crazy about Christmas as a tradition – the twinkly lights everywhere, the smell of pine needles, the lovely things in the shops, the carols, the festive food, meeting up with friends for a Christmas drink, the parties and the general feeling of good cheer – I just love it!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableAnd of course, I love the baking. This is one of the best recipes I have ever used for mince pie pastry. It’s short, rich and buttery with a wonderful flavour from the flecks of orange zest. It is not too sweet which balances with the sweet mincemeat. And it is ever so forgiving. The trimmings come together like playdoh and can be re-rolled a number of times. The dough doesn’t have to be kneaded – just patted into a disc, chilled and then rolled out. It keeps for days in the fridge too.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's TableI always use shop bought mincemeat which I ramp up with port soaked dried cranberries and golden sultanas and orange zest. I usually grate an apple into the mixture before I fill the pies but this year I didn’t. Honestly, jazzing up shop bought mincemeat like this makes it taste absolutely wonderful and I never think to make my own from scratch.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Pastry before being gathered and chilled

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Most years, I make at least two batches of mince pies with this pastry, usually with a glass of port and Michael Bublé for company! For me, this is when I start to feel really festive.

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

I am taking these to share with the wonderful bloggers at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #47. Today we are being co-hosted by two charming ladies – Indu @Indu’s International Kitchen and Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook Do take a moment to see what Angie, Indu and Jhuls have been up to!

Orange Mince Pie Pastry | Selma's Table

Orange Mince Pie Pastry

  • Servings: enough for 24 mince pies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Christmas Book by Joycelyn Dimbleby

INGREDIENTS

For the mincemeat

  • 200g of dried cranberries. dried cherries and golden sultanas
  • enough port to cover the dried fruit
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 500 g mincemeat

For the pastry

  • 500g plain/AP flour
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 375 g cold butter, cubed
  • finely grated rind and juice of one orange

To assemble

  • 1 x 8cm/3in round cutter
  • 1 x 5cm/2in round cutter
  • 3 Tbsp flour in a bowl
  •  2 Tbsp water in a small glass or bowl
  • 1 Tbsp milk in a small glass or bowl
  • icing sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

Pastry

  1. Place the flour, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.
  2. Add the chilled butter cubes and process until the mixture looks like coarse damp sand. Scrape out into a bowl and  break up any large lumps of butter or compacted mix.
  3. Using a table knife, stir in the orange juice until the pastry just starts to come together. You will think that this amount of liquid can’t possibly be enough, but it is.
  4. Gently, pat into a disk, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins or overnight.

Mincemeat

  1. Soak the dried fruit and zest in the port overnight (do not refrigerate).
  2. Stir in the mincemeat and set aside until needed.

To assemble

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Butter/spray the tart tins.
  3. Remove the pastry from the fridge. Divide into two, one piece slightly larger than the other. Wrap the smaller one in the cling film and pop it back in the fridge.
  4. Cut the larger half of the disc in half again. I find it easier to roll out a smaller piece of dough. Lightly flour the worktop and the rolling pin. Roll out the pastry, which will be solid to begin with but soon softens up as the butter warms up, a little thicker than usual and stamp out 12 x  8cm/3in rounds. Dip the cutter into the flour from time to time. Re-roll the trimmings to achieve the 12 rounds. Line the tart tin and pop into the fridge to chill. Repeat with the other half of the pastry and refrigerate while you get the tops ready.
  5. Remove the second half of the pastry dough from the fridge. Cut in half and roll out. Stamp out 12 x 5cm/2in rounds, again re-rolling the trimmings to achieve 12 rounds for the tops. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  6. Optional – gather all the trimmings, re-roll and stamp out stars, christmas trees, hearts etc.
  7. Remove the tart tins from the fridge and fill with the mincemeat – do not overfill.
  8. Dipping a finger into the water, moisten one side of the rounds and place on top of the filled pies.  Press lightly to seal and make a small slit on top.
  9. Moisten one side of the star/heart/Christmas tree and place on top of each pie.
  10. Brush with a little milk and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. The pastry is beautifully crumbly so it is best to let the mince pies cool for 10 minutes before easing them out of the tins (you may need to use a table knife to do this) and letting them cool on a wire rack.
  12. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or cold.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi – Christmas Giveaway!

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi - Giveaway! | Selma's TableHow would you like to get your hands on a copy of one of this year’s eagerly awaited and most coveted recipe books? Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi has made it onto all the must-have Christmas gift guides and this is your chance to either cross that foodie off your Christmas shopping list or keep it for yourself as an early Christmas pressie from which you can prepare gorgeous dishes for friends and family – truly, the gift that keeps giving!  The lovely people at The Happy Foodie have sent me a copy of Plenty More to give to one lucky reader.

Plenty More picks up where Plenty left off, with 150 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes, this time organised by cooking method. Grilled, Baked, Simmered, Cracked, Braised or Raw, the range of recipe ideas is stunning. With recipes including Alphonso Mango and Curried Chickpea Salad, Membrillo and Stilton Quiche, Buttermilk-crusted Okra, Lentils, Radicchio and Walnuts with Manuka Honey, Seaweed, Ginger and Carrot Salad, and even desserts such as Baked Rhubarb with Sweet Labneh and Quince poached in Pomegranate Juice, this is the cookbook that everyone has been waiting for…Ebury Publishing

I’ve had my copy for a couple of months now and have made numerous recipes from it, all of which have been utterly delicious – this is a book which has already become a stalwart in my kitchen.  Here is a short video of the great man himself, recipe testing and talking about his inspirations and processes – oh how I would love to be working in that “under the arches” test kitchen of his!!

With unreserved apologies to my many and cherished international readers, this giveaway is limited to UK and EU addresses only. As a consolation to them and to whet your appetite, you can download a handful of the recipes from the Ebury Press website.

You  have up to 3 chances to win!!

1. You can enter up to 3 times via the following platforms;

2. The deadline for entries is 9pm (GMT), Tuesday 09 December 2014.

3. I will plug all the entries into a bit of software called The Hat which will randomly choose a winner.

4. The winner will be announced and contacted on Wednesday 10 Dec 2014 and I will mail the book out as soon as I have your postal details.

5. Remember – UK and EU addressees only!

Good luck everyone and get commenting!!

Festive Savoury Palmiers

festive-savoury-palmiers

festive-savoury-palmiers

I have been rushing about for the last 6 weeks on a fairly soul destroying property search, hence the radio silence here on the blog – I’ve been cooking but have had neither the time nor the energy to document any of it. Today though, I felt calm, the sun was shining and I was due to visit a friend recuperating in hospital who said he felt like eating pastry. So, in keeping with the season, I made these Festive Savoury Palmiers, managed to photograph them and pack some up before J got to them.  I also stopped to get some fat grapes and squidgy dates before setting off for The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which, incidentally is where I had J, sixteen years ago. After a lovely visit, a little wander along the Fulham Road and a restorative macchiato, I met J in Knightsbridge as the afternoon turned to evening. London is looking absolutely stunning in her festive finery. I just love a bit of  sparkle and London is full of it. We wandered around with me stopping to take lots of photos, headed to Soho for a bowl of ramen and finished up by walking through Trafalgar Square before getting the bus home. I am finally feeling festive!

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Harrods, Knightsbridge, Carnaby Street and Regent Street

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus

When time is of the essence, it is quite handy to have a few quick recipes up your sleeve and  Savoury Palmiers fit the bill very nicely. They are easy to make and quick to rustle up and you can tweak away at the filling to your heart’s content. Caramelised onions, chopped rosemary and anchovies are a fabulous combination. Sun dried tomato paste, cubes of mozzarella, basil leaves and black olives would also be very nice.

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers

  • Servings: 11 - 13
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry – they range from 320 g – 375 g depending on the brand.
  • 300g of sausage meat – either de-skin some sausages, use sausage meat or at this time of year you can use some ready made festive stuffing
  • 1 handful of chopped (cooked)  chestnuts. Save the rest for the sprouts on Christmas Day.
  • 1 finely chopped banana shallot or a medium onion
  • 1 handful of dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves stripped from their stalks
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F and prepare a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Using a fork or your hand, mix the sausage meat, chestnuts, shallots, cranberries, herbs and pepper (no salt at this stage) in a bowl.
  3. Unfurl the pastry sheet (leave it on the paper in which it comes rolled up) and spread the sausage mixture all over it, as evenly as you can.
  4. Snugly roll up both of the long sides until they meet in the middle. Use the paper to help you get started and don’t worry about the rolls being really tight as the pastry puffs up when it cooks.
  5. Brush the pastry all over with the beaten egg.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut into approx 1.5 cm slices, laying each one out on the baking tray as you slice.  You might have to re-form them a little on the tray. Leave some room between them as they do spread out on cooking. I managed to get 13 slices out of my roll, including the ends.
  7. Egg wash the pastry again as well as the exposed filling. Don’t skimp on this step as it makes a huge difference to how beautifully burnished they look once they come out of the oven.
  8. Sprinkle over a little flaky sea salt and more pepper.
  9. Bake for 20 mins and let cool a little before serving.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Festive Savoury Palmiers

Festive Savoury Palmiers