As I sit here on the couch, Love Actually is on the TV (yes, I know, I shouldn't be on the computer and watching tv at the same time right before bed, but that's what you have to do sometimes in order to get some things done!) and its only three sleeps until the most magical day of the year arrives, when children will wake frightfully early, eager to see what Santa has left them and families will come together to celebrate all that is merry and bright over a feast of edible delights. It really is the most wonderful time of the year!
This year is in fact extra special as we now have our little man to join us in these festivities and that is the greatest gift of all. An added bonus also is the absolute joy that we can actually really fully relax over this time as its the first year that we don't have the stress of the café looming over our heads, we don't have to worry about staff, rosters, ordering and running around like headless chooks while the hoards of tourists and holiday makers flood into Rye and the surrounding areas. And that feels so GOOD! We actually get to have a holiday too!
Every year I look so forward to all of the Christmas baking, especially creating these buttery, fruity little gems. As some of you may already know I have a great love for pastry, everything about it, from bringing all of those simple ingredients together to form a beautiful "vessel" that houses an array of flavour combinations to of course eating it! This recipe is very close to my heart as it has been handed down from my Grandma, my dad's mum, who used to make batches and batches of these like they were going out of fashion. She had to with a house full of boys. its no wonder that my dad absolutely loves them, not just for their flavour but for the memories they evoke of his beautiful mum baking away in her kitchen. Her hands busy bringing the dough together, flour drifting through the air and that heavenly smell of pastry baking away filling the house with the most festive of aromas.
They are best enjoyed with a mug of something hot while watching a Christmas movie, just like I have been doing right now. Although, preferably not while typing away on the computer at the same time! I hope you enjoy them as much as we all do. They also make for wonderful edible gifts too.
Makes around 30 pies
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
4 cups plain flour, sifted
1-2 tbsp. milk
2 jars of Robertson's Fruit Mince
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees. Lightly grease three patty cake tins and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar for quite some time until its lovely and light and fluffy, I usually do this for about 5-8 minutes on high speed. add the eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. With the mixer on a lower speed carefully add the flour, this part can get a little messy! once the dough starts to come together add a little of the milk bit by bit until you have a smooth dough. Tip out onto a lightly floured bench and bring together.
cut the dough in half and wrap in cling wrap and pop in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Roll out in between two pieces of baking paper, you don't want it too thin or too thick, you will know if its right when you pop them into the pans. use a larger circle cutter for the bottoms and a smaller one for the tops. spoon about a teaspoon of the fruit mince into each one and top with the lid. press down around the edges to create pretty indents.
Pop them into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, I always check them a little before this and swap the pans around if some of the back ones are browning a little quicker than the front. But every oven is different so just keep an eye on them. Once they are baked to perfection take them out, let them cool a little in the pans and just give them a little twist and jiggle to loosen them. Place them onto a cooling rack to cool completely, or eat a couple straight away, while they are still warm!!
They can be kept in an airtight container for quite some time at room temperature. Although they wont last that long, you may even find you need to make another batch sooner rather than later. This recipe can also very easily be halved if you don't want as many pies, but really can you ever have too many pies? I will leave it up to you. x