Did you know that the origin of the humble mince pie lies in the Middle East? It eventually made its way west and became part of the Christmas tradition throughout the UK and Ireland.
During the 17th century, mince pies were stuffed with minced beef, other meats, currants and spices such as cinnamon and orange rind, hence the name 'mince' pie. In the Victorian era, meat was still the chosen filling and the mince pie was a large, oblong shaped pie. Here is a recipe to create a Victorian mince pie.
It wasn't until the late 19th century onwards that meat began to be left out of the mince pie and the 'mincemeat' misnomer remained. Over time it got smaller and became the traditional sweet treat we associate with Christmas time today.
The burning of the yule log is a Christmas tradition carried out in many European countries and dates back to medieval times. Although not a common tradition here in Ireland, we are very much aware of the spin off 'Chocolate Yule Log' (see recipe below).
We all know that home made is best and so we would like to share two recipes with you based on these two festive season favourites.
Christmas Treats Recipes
Christmas Yule Log
This is a rich cake and a little definitely goes a long way. The beauty of this chocolate yule log recipe is that there is no flour so no need to bake in the oven. Also it can be decorated to your own design!
200g Chocolate (broken into pieces)
100g Golden syrup
50g Desiccated coconut
100g Dried tropical fruit
80g Banana chips
50g Brazil nuts
50g Mini marshmallows
1 tsp Stem ginger
100g Nice biscuits
200g Dark chocolate chips
Icing sugar to decorate
Put the chocolate pieces, butter & golden syrup into a heat proof bowl and over a saucepan of water until the chocolate has melted. Next, add the coconut, dried fruit, banana chips, brazil nuts, marshmallows, ginger and biscuits and mix together.
Pour out the mixture into 2 separate sheets of greaseproof paper and roll into a log shape, tucking in the loose ends either side. Cover with cling film to help keep it in place and chill in the fridge for 2 - 3 hours.
For the final stage, remove the cling film and greaseproof paper. Melt the dark chocolate chips and pour over the chocolate logs using the tips of the fork to add to the 'log' look. Add icing sugar and decorate as you want. This recipe is courtesy of BBC Good Foods, to see the full video click here.
These little treats are a welcome sight leading up to and during the festive season. Lovely with a cup of tea and if you are feeling indulgent, add a spoonful of brandy cream. Just take care not to over do the pastry, otherwise they will become too hard! This recipe is courtesy of Odlums.
225g/8oz Plain Flour
125g/4oz Golden Caster Sugar
100g Ground Almonds
125g/4oz Butter or Margarine (room temperature)
1 Egg (beaten)
A little water, if necessary
450g/1lb Jar Mincemeat
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Lightly grease patty/bun tins.
- Put flour, sugar and ground almonds into a mixing bowl and mix well together.
- Rub butter/margarine through the dry ingredients. Add the egg and water, if required and mix to a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured board and gently knead.
- Cover with cling film and keep in fridge until ready to use. The pastry will keep for about three days.
- Roll pastry on a floured board and cut rounds or stars with a cutter to fit greased bun/patty tins. Put a teaspoon of mincemeat in each and cut a lid from remaining pastry to put on top. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Dust with icing sugar.
- Pastry: When made wrap in cling film and keep in fridge for up to 3 days
- Uncooked Mince Pies: Wrap the baking bun/patty tin with the uncooked Mince Pies in cling film and freeze. When frozen remove the Mince Pies from the tin and return to the freezer wrapped in a plastic bag. Will keep for up to 6 months
- Cooked Mince Pies: These will keep in the freezer up to 3 months wrapped in a plastic bag.
We hope you enjoy these Christmas treats and have fun making them!
Merry Christmas from all of the crew on board the Shannon Princess Luxury Floating Hotel.
[Feature image source: www.prima.co.uk]