Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

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Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by HEPZIBAH » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:27 pm

(Small apology to those that may have read/responded to the same questions which I posted elsewhere.)

Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?
So...we have now hit the season in the UK when the adverts on the television and in the magazines are pushing on the pressure for that (illusive) *perfect* Christmas, and every event between now and January will include Mince Pies somewhere on the itinerary.
Personally, I'm off the opinion that if Mince Pies are so wonderful, why aren't they served all year! I don't mind one or two, preferably home made ones, over the actual Christmas period but do not want to be faced with mountains of Mr. Kipling's offerings - thank you very much.
So...do you love em or hate 'em? Which are your favourite brands if you buy them. What is your favourite recipe if you make them yourself? And for those in Luxor...Has Attar added them to his culinary repertoire yet?


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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Glyphdoctor » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:51 pm

Egypt beat the UK to Christmas this year. I saw a man selling Santa Claus masks in the street last week! Of course, they would be good for robbing banks or attending protests too!

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Yildez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:54 pm

I love mince pies, but sadly they are just an increasingly distant memory, as I've lived in Turkey for the last 6 years! No idea what Turks would make of them!!!

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Billy_whiz » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:02 pm

I love mince pies, but haven't seen them in Luxor. If I could find the mincemeat I would make them myself but alas no jars on the supermarket shelves. Maybe I need to investigate making it, but I'm not exactly a kitchen goddess and am wondering if I can be bothered as I'm sure my other half wouldn't even try them - he doesn't like "foreign" stuff and looks with amazement sometimes when I cook something new. I pickled some beetroot recently (it was delicious) and all his family have been laughing at me as they don't eat it, they just use it for colouring when they make salty vegetables, their version of pickles (yuk)

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Yildez » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:09 pm

Billy_whiz wrote:I love mince pies, but haven't seen them in Luxor. If I could find the mincemeat I would make them myself but alas no jars on the supermarket shelves. Maybe I need to investigate making it, but I'm not exactly a kitchen goddess and am wondering if I can be bothered as I'm sure my other half wouldn't even try them - he doesn't like "foreign" stuff and looks with amazement sometimes when I cook something new. I pickled some beetroot recently (it was delicious) and all his family have been laughing at me as they don't eat it, they just use it for colouring when they make salty vegetables, their version of pickles (yuk)
The problem is finding Suet! All the ingredients are available in Turkey, and I guess in Luxor too, but without Suet? No go!

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by LovelyLadyLux » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:26 pm

No no no not the perennial mince pies. :stp I'm voting on the no side. :td Don't like mince at all, never did but mince pies do appear everywhere this time of year.

x:p x:p x:p

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Gopha75 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:46 pm

Love em and mr marks and spencer just opened up another store in paris - so will get loads this year !

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Wills » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:25 pm

Hate mince pies.

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Brian Yare » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:49 pm

Probably the best part of Xmas, and afterwards we can start on the hot cross buns.

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Scottishtourist » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:02 pm

Love them too.
Always think they're more of an "adult"taste though (kinda like dark chocolate!)My kids always hated them,think they were too spicy for them and not sweet enough.
If I have time I'll make my own with shortcrust pastry.That's another debate though cos some swear by Ruff-puff.
Have never made the mincemeat,the dried fruit was always quite expensive here..so I just buy a couple of jars then mix through a more than generous measure of Cointreau!Just gives it that extra little "kick!"
Warmed through,then served with a blob of ice-cream with just a hint of Baileys drizzled over it.Lovely!
Mind you,can't eat as many as I used to now.Kinda gives me a bit of indigestion.
Must be the acidity of the fruit..cos I refuse to believe it's caused by the glass of sherry that I sip while I'm eating them!

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Maakari » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:53 pm

I make them with filo pastry. Little pretty parcels, dusted with icing sugar, and served with ice cream made with Baileys. yum yum Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Chocolate Eclair » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:31 am

Arkwrights always did mincemeat for Christmas, but now its been taken over another traditional thing has been lost. However I have been informed the Secret Garden is soon to start providing Christmas Spirited people with mince pies. My wife always makes them for Christmas, and puts them under the Christmas Tree for Christmas Day, I make the Baileys, and Truffles, this year though we will be dining out so they will get moved forward to Boxing Day.

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Dusak » Tue Nov 19, 2013 6:12 am

One of the few things that I enjoy about Xmas, the mince pies. As a kid, Santa never got his as I used to creep down and nick 'em. Luckily my gob is just large enough to slide a full one in [bought size] and gorge away. As CE says, Arkwrights usually have the jars of mince in, but they do have them made each year for sale, which are very good.
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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by HEPZIBAH » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:17 am

Can't buy Suet...

Somewhere in the archives here there is some information on alternatives.

I've just done a quick search on the internet and there are many recipes available for Suet Free Mince this one caught my eye because it includes apricots.

Ingredients
450 ml strong dry cider (you could substitute orange juice, for some of this),250g currants,250g raisins,75g dried apricots chopped small,1 kg. cooking apples,250g dark brown sugar,1 teaspoon mixed spice & 1/2 tspn. cinnamon,Grated rind 1/2 orange & 1/2 lemon,75g glace cherries quartered,75ml brandy whisky or rum,
Method
Put cider in large pan, add currants, raisins and apricots and leave to soak a couple of hours.
Peel, core and finely chop apples and add to pan, cook until starting to soften.
Add sugar, spices, rinds, and cover - simmer about 30 mins. until quite soft.
Add cherries and brandy and pot up.

If you can't get cider then use apple juice (or cold tea is actually an old fashioned and very good method for plumping up your currants and raisins).
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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by BENNU » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:08 pm

Last year, and it was far from Christmas, Attar had some decoratice little temptations that he called apple pies. He showed me an empty packet that he had been given with "mince pies" printed on it. That is the only time I have ever tried or even seen a mince pie. They were not too sweet and I liked that, but I was not really motivated to buy another one next time I went shopping in an Upper Egyptian village. I wonder if it had as little to do with the real thing as what they call "Danish pastry". :roll:

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Ruby Slippers » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:47 pm

Traditionally, mince pies were made with minced meat, and the spices were added to mask the putrid smell of 'less than fresh' meat. I'm glad some enterprising soul saw fit to change the recipe! :up Bennu, you mentioned Danish Pastries. I have never attempted to make them but have tried some from supermarkets etc. and found them to taste a bit like cardboard! I can't believe that the Danes would relish eating them, so what are authentic Danish Pastries like? Are there particular types that are favourites in Denmark, and are there plenty of recipes around?

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by BENNU » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:12 pm

Ruby Slippers wrote: :up Bennu, you mentioned Danish Pastries. Are there particular types that are favourites in Denmark, and are there plenty of recipes around?
We call it Vienna Bread and in Vienna they call it Copenhagen pastry.

It is very rich and sticky, soft inside and crisp on the outside and somewhat sweet, but not as sweet as the dry things I have tried in Egypt. It is fluffy because it is rolled gently so that the layers remain intact and you use yeast and lots of butter. It has got to be made the same day that it is served, I wonder who eats all the freshly produced wienerbrød that you see in the Danish bakery windows each day. Yes, there are standard ones and no need to for creativity! I have heard Americans talk about blueberry Danish and cheese Danish - there are no such things!

The most popular ones are cinnamon- or rum snails, family size bars or pretzels and the Spandauer :P with marcipan and jam or custard, hazelnuts and icing.

We do of course have Christmas Danish pastry with raisins and I don't remember what else, my Christmas begins in the middle of December and is too short for me to eat and drink all the classics - or to get enough of it. :) Christmas is far away, it is only November! :sd:

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Ruby Slippers » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:42 pm

Thanks for such a comprehensive reply, Bennu! :up you have given me lots of info! Lots of names and terms to look up on the internet.

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by biosceptic » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:12 pm

Ruby Slippers wrote:Traditionally, mince pies were made with minced meat, and the spices were added to mask the putrid smell of 'less than fresh' meat.
This is one of those history myths. Yes the original mince was a fruit and meat mix similar in flavour to many modern fruity tagines. At that time spices including sugar were very expensive and kept under lock and key. No one who could afford spices would waste expensive spices on spoiled meat, when their spice use was a way to show off your position I society.

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Re: Mince Pies - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Post by Ruby Slippers » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:47 pm

biosceptic wrote:
Ruby Slippers wrote:Traditionally, mince pies were made with minced meat, and the spices were added to mask the putrid smell of 'less than fresh' meat.
This is one of those history myths. Yes the original mince was a fruit and meat mix similar in flavour to many modern fruity tagines. At that time spices including sugar were very expensive and kept under lock and key. No one who could afford spices would waste expensive spices on spoiled meat, when their spice use was a way to show off your position I society.

Thanks for putting the record straight, Biosceptic! :D

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