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Anne's Recipe - Christmas Mince - 29 Nov


ORIGINS OF CHRISTMAS MINCE

The original Christmas mince pie dates back to medieval times when it did in fact contain meat.  Over the centuries the meat has been slowly replaced with more spices, sugars and dried fruit as they became readily available.  At one stage the pie was made oval in shape to symbolise the manger and the mince meat contained 3 spices symbolising the gifts from the Three Kings.
To ensure a lucky year the story goes that you should eat 12 pies between Christmas Day and the Twelfth Day !!!

Pineapple and Brandy Christmas Mince

1 cup dates - chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup sultanas
1/4 cup each mixed peel and halved glace cherries
zest and juice 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup soft brown sugar - tightly packed
1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon
440g can crushed pineapple
3 tablespoons brandy

Place dried fruit, peel, cherries, lemon zest, juice, honey, sugar, spices and pineapple including juice, into a large saucepan.  Slowly bring to the boil, simmer gently uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until thick and pulpy.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Remove from heat.  Pour in brandy.  Spoon into sterilized jars.  Seal.  Store in refrigerator.

Blackcurrant and Honey Christmas Mince

This nutritious black fruit is high in Vitamin C and antioxidants.  Combined with honey they give an interesting flavour to this Christmas Mince.

2 cup frozen blackcurrants
2 cups mixed fruit
1 cup dates - chopped and tightly packed
flesh from 1 tangelo - chopped
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
3 tablespoons brandy

Place blackcurrants into a saucepan.  Over a low heat cook until thawed and juices run.  Stir in mixed fruit, dates, tangelo flesh, honey and spice.  Slowly bring to the boil, simmer gently uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until thick and pulpy.  Stir frequently to prevent sticking.  Remove from heat.  Stir in brandy.  Spoon into sterilized jars. Seal.  Store in refrigerator.

Macroon Topped Chrstmas Mince

2 sheets sweet short pastry
Pineapple and Brandy or Blackcurrant and Honey Christmas Mince

Macaroon topping
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup coconut
1/2 teaspoon almond essence

Whisk egg whites until stiff, gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.  Fold in almonds, coconut and essence.  Set aside.

To assemble tarts
Lightly dust bench with flour.  Place on pastry square.  No rolling needed.  Using a 8cm, round cutter, cut out 9 rounds from each square.  Evenly push into 18 ungreased muffin tins.  Prick base on each one.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Fill each case 3/4 full with mince.  Use a generous teaspoon full of Macaroon mixture for topping.  To prevent topping burning, place low in oven.  Bake at 200degC for 10-15 minutes.  Cool.  Store in an airtight container.  Delicious warm as a dessert with lashing of whipped cream laced with Cointreau or Maraschino liqueur.  I bet you'll eat more than 12 between Christmas Day and the Twelfth Day !!!


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