Piccalilli

Piccalilli is the perfect preserve for your festive table. Bite-sized pieces of Autumn vegetables fragrant with curry spices which is excellent with any kind of cheese or cold cut.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

There was one word with which people always used to describe me; my school teachers, my work colleagues, my family, friends, strangers on the bus, the butcher, the baker, the weirdo on the corner. All of them would mutter a singular word in my direction as I floated past, filofax in one hand, iphone in the other. Organised.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

I never really took kindly to that word, as surely it’s just another way of saying god she’s boring, always making those lists and getting things done. What a teacher’s pet. Boo, let’s all go off down the pub and leave her at home. Ha ha, what a loser.

I would also get the bum job of booking our holidays. This meant researching the itinerary, making a powerpoint with appropriately fun fonts to share with the world on a domain specifically bought for the purpose, taking all the photos on the trip then sorting them into the photobook on our return complete with on point bon mots, then printing them out for Christmas presents, sourcing personalised wrapping paper for every recipient and ribbons to match; finally making sure everything was couriered off a week before to ensure a proper punctual Christmas.

Ah, the good life. The me I knew and loved and now have lost. As then came baby.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

My house keys are currently misplaced. For the third time in the past month. No doubt I will find them in a shoe or the blender in a week or two. I have forgotten numerous vet appointments (sorry Billy Buddy), play dates (sorry Cole). I have been to weddings and sent thank you cards three months after the fact, if at all (sorry all of this year’s newlyweds). I have a multitude of blog posts half finished, mostly for recipes that are now irrelevant with the changing seasons. I haven’t been out for dinner in about four months as I can’t be bothered to find a babysitter and I’m now just about to cancel our anniversary holiday at the end of the month as I haven’t got around to booking the hotel as quite frankly it sounds more hassle than it’s worth. Just the thought of another wrestling match with the travel cot from hell is enough to make me shudder.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

There is one job though that I have forced myself to do, and blimey if I haven’t gone and completed it with weeks to spare. And that is my Piccalilli. To be fair, I had to finish it really as I’m planning on selling it at the Christmas fairs I am attending later this month and empty jars just don’t sell as well.

My Piccalilli is so important to make as it is the most popular preserve on my stall. Without fail it is the first to sell out but I have to make sure I keep a couple of jars back for my family each year, otherwise there will be cheese knives at dawn on Boxing Day if there is no Piccalilli to enjoy with the cold cuts.

For years I would make it just for us, sometimes along with another chutney or jam but the Piccalilli was the break out star and soon became the number one preserve that was clamoured for and I pretty much set my whole preserve stall up around it.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

Now is the best time to make it as although you can eat it freshly bottled and has a lovely bright taste if you do, if you allow the Piccalilli to rest for a few weeks, the vinegar has a chance to mellow and the spices are given room to breathe and really envelop the vegetables.

The only real labour of making a Piccalilli is the chopping of the vegetables which I like to be bite-sized so they can nestle happily in a sandwich or on a cracker without weighing it all down. The vegetables should then be brined overnight which helps them retain their crunch. Then all that’s left to do the next day is to quickly poach them in vinegar and sugar before adding them into your delicately spiced curry dressing. I stick to the traditional vegetables of cauliflower, green beans, cucumber and onions. Although by using romescu and purple cauliflower the Piccalilli is given wonderful texture and a beautiful rich colour.

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.

If you are thinking of making homemade gifts this year then I don’t think you can ever go wrong with chutneys and pickles, at least that’s what I say whenever I hand a festively wrapped jar over to an unsuspecting recipient. They always give a good show of being appreciative and that’s the main thing. Plus I think if I can pull myself together enough to knock up a few jars then it gives me hope that one day I can be that organised loser so beloved once more.

Piccalilli

Piccalilli is a must-have addition for any festive table. A beautiful trio of purple cauliflower, romescu and white cauliflower preserved with autumn vegetables in delicious curried spices.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 45 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 201kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 white cauliflower
  • 1 purple cauliflower
  • 1 romescu cauliflower
  • 800 g small onions
  • 700 g green beans
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 3 red chillies sliced
  • 100 g salt
  • 1500 g white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • teaspoons ground allspice
  • 525 g granulated sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 50 g tapioca flour
  • 50 g cornflour
  • teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder I used a Jamaican curry powder blend but any will do
  • 3 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Instructions

  • Cut the cauliflowers, onions, green beans and cucumbers into bite-sized pieces then place in a large bowl, along with the chillies and sprinkle with the salt. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day drain the vegetables and rinse with cold water to remove the excess salt.
  • Place the vegetables in a large preserving pan with the vinegar, nutmeg, allspice and sugar. Crush the garlic with the salt and add that in too. Bring to the boil, then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Take off the heat then remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon leaving the liquid behind. Pour the liquid into a separate jug and set aside for a moment.
  • Sift together the tapioca flour, cornflour, turmeric, ginger, curry powder, mustard powder and pepper. Add 200ml of the reserved liquid and blend together to make a smooth paste.
  • Pour the paste into the preserving pan and with the heat on very low, slowly pour the rest of the reserved liquid into the paste, whisking all the while.
  • Bring to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Add the vegetables back into the sauce, stirring to coat thoroughly. Turn off the heat.
  • Decant into sterilised jars and store in a cool dark place until needed.

Notes

Yield 10 300ml jars

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2325mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 345IU | Vitamin C: 60.7mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1.8mg

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Courgette Relish

Courgette Relish on a wooden box with forks

Pickled Golden Beetroot

Pickled Golden Beetroot

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback
So this week I finalised my Christmas menu for what I’m going to be cooking for all the family when they arrive from Christmas Eve onwards. It wasn’t that hard to be honest, as I took the menu I made for last Christmas and merely changed the header from Christmas 2013 to Christmas 2014. Gone are the days of festive experimentation, that is now what my blog is for.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Like any family, mine is picky and I have to cater across the board. Some don’t like smoked salmon, some can’t imagine Christmas without it. For those that hate the sight of Christmas Pudding, not to fear, there is trifle on hand. Then of course I have the usual brussel sprout debate, shall I bother with them when only a couple of people eat them? There is no question, unless I want sulks over the lunch table. A couple of years ago I broke from tradition and made a Ham Hock and Chicken Pie on Christmas Eve instead of the usual Honey Glazed Ham and there were definite murmours of discontent despite the pie being one of the best things that has come out of my kitchen. Lo and behold when I visited a certain member of my family over New Year a Baked Christmas Ham was presented for supper. The hint was duly noted.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

I don’t know how it came to pass that Devils on Horseback have to make an appearance by about 11am on Christmas morning just after we have finished opening our presents, especially since we’ve been stuffing ourselves with bacon rolls all morning. But then, there is always room for more bacon. I hate to admit it but I was getting a little tired of them each year so this time round I have jazzed them up a bit and I have to say that it has reinvigorated my love for them. They were missing a bit of oomph for me so I have mixed in some hot and smoky chipotle in adobo with a generous amount of citrusy marmalade and spread it on the bacon rashers before rolling them up with the prunes. Now, they have bite, a Chrismas kick with the marmalade and to finish it off I have given them a glaze of marmalade after they emerge from the grill to avoid the bacon going dry if they are going to be sat on a plate for a bit. Not that they will as they are usually wolfed down within seconds.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Just make sure you use good bacon and freshly opened sticky prunes.

The Devils on Horseback go down well with everyone, except of course for Mum who balks at the idea of sweet and savoury things together and wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.

Hot and Smoky Devils on Horseback

Devils on Horseback

Easy Devils on Horseback are given a sweet hot and smoky twist.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: British
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 77kcal

Ingredients

  • 90 g marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
  • 200 g stoned prunes about 24
  • 12 rashers smoked streaky bacon halved widthways

Instructions

  • Turn the grill onto its highest setting.
  • Mash up 60g of the marmalade with the chipotle until evenly mixed.
  • Spread about ½ teaspoon of the marmalade and chipotle mixture on one side of the bacon rasher.
  • Place a prune at one end of the bacon rasher and roll up, securing with a cocktail stick.
  • Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Place the devils underneath the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes each side.
  • Meanwhile melt the remaining 30g of marmalade in a small saucepan until runny.
  • Once the devils are ready, remove them from the grill and brush with the marmalade to glaze.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 86mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding is a must at this time of year. It’s an excellent way of using up all your excess mincemeat or makes a lighter alternative to Christmas Pudding at the end of your festive feast. Both the regular flour and gluten-free recipes are listed below.

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

If you are looking for ways to use up that jar of leftover mincemeat then look no further than this recipe.

I am a mincemeat fiend. Making the mincemeat is one of my very favourite cooking jobs to do. It fills my kitchen with the heady scent of brandy, plump fruits and warming spices.

It’s pretty telling that I have several mincemeat recipes on this blog and each one I try to make every year:

So it perhaps comes as no surprise that I usually have a lot knocking around my kitchen throughout the season. It’s an incredibly versatile festive ingredient though so don’t worry if you’ve made too much. I’ve got your covered.

I have to say though this Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding is just about my favourite way to use mincemeat. The tartness of the Bramleys give a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the mincemeat. Plus, it’s:

  • Light
  • Fruity
  • Easy
  • Festive

Some Christmas desserts have the propensity to be a bit of a faff but this pudding takes moments to mix up and bake, perfect for cold nights in front of the fire.

Plus it works with every single mincemeat I’ve ever tried: shop bought or homemade, suet or suet-free.

Baked Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding in a dish

Other recipes to use up leftover mincemeat

Alternative to Christmas Pudding

However this Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding is not just the means to the end of a jar of mincemeat though. It can be an excellent dessert choice for the big day itself.

If you know you have some Christmas Pud haters at your festive feast this year then this pudding is guaranteed to be a people pleaser.

Do you need more alternatives to the traditional Christmas Pudding?

Lemon Raspberry Trifle
Chocolate Chip Clementine Christmas Pudding with Cointreau Sauce
Steamed Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Custard
Sticky Toffee Baileys Pudding

How to Make Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding

1. Mix diced bramley apples with sugar, lemon zest and juice. Pour into a buttered baking dish and set aside.

2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add the eggs.
4. Stir in the vanilla extract and mincemeat.
5. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and mix with the rest of the ingredients.
6. Stir in the milk.

7. Pour the batter on top of the apples.

8. Bake for 45 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 170°C
9. Sprinkle over caster sugar. Serve warm with custard.

Baker’s Tips

  • If you can’t get hold of Bramley Apples then any tart cooking apple will do the job.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until creamy and light which will help the sponge to lift.
  • Use medium eggs.
  • Use really good vanilla extract and the best mincemeat you can find. Homemade is especially good.
  • Place the pudding to bake in the centre of the oven to ensure even baking.

FAQ’s

  • What Size Baking Dish? 25 x 19 x 6cm
  • Make Ahead – If you want to make ahead of time to avoid the bother on Christmas Day then I recommend baking it a day or two before. Cover with foil then re-heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes just before serving.
  • How to Freeze – This pudding freezes really well too. Cool in the baking dish then double wrap well in both cling film and tin foil before freezing. Defrost thoroughly the night before then re-heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes, covered loosely with foil.

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding in a dish

How to Make Gluten-Free Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

This recipe was developed before I became gluten-free but since I couldn’t bear to live without it once I made my lifestyle switch I quickly came up with a gluten-free version.

The recipe is exactly the same but instead of 150g plain flour, whisk up the following blend of flours:

  • 55g sweet rice flour
  • 40g oat flour
  • 30g millet flour
  • 25g almond flour

The result is amazing and just as fluffy and deeply delicious as the original recipe.

Close-up of Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding drizzled in custard

How to serve Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

  • Lashings of Custard
  • Single Cream
  • Brandy Cream
  • Ice Cream

If you make this Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

My parting words: Be adventurous with your mincemeat!!

Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Bramley Apple and Mincemeat Pudding

Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding is an excellent way of using up all your excess mincemeat or makes a lighter alternative to Christmas Pudding.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 513kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 bramley apples peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 150 g butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons mincemeat
  • 150 g plain flour *for gluten-free version see notes
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar to sprinkle

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • In a large bowl mix the bramley apples with the brown sugar and lemon zest and juice. Pour into a buttered baking dish and set aside
  • Cream the butter and caster sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and then the mincemeat.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt then mix into the rest of the ingredients until just combined.
  • Finally stir in the milk.
  • Pour the batter on top of the apples then bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until the sponge has browned on top and an inserted toothpicks comes out clean.
  • Sprinkle over the teaspoon of caster sugar and serve with lashings of custard.

Notes

  • Bramley Apples - If you can’t get hold of Bramley Apples then any tart cooking apple will do the job.
  • Mincemeat - you can use any mincemeat but homemade tastes the most delicious
  • Baking Dish 25 x 19 x 6cm
  • Make Ahead - Bake the pudding a day or two before. Keep in the fridge. Cover loosely with foil then re-heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes just before serving.
  • How to Freeze - Cool in the baking dish then double wrap well in both cling film and tin foil before freezing. Defrost thoroughly the night before then re-heat in the oven for 20-30 minutes, covered loosely with foil.
  • Gluten-Free Version - The recipe is totally the same except instead of plain flour I use the following flours all whisked together:
    55g sweet rice flour
    40g oat flour
    30g millet flour
    25g almond flour
    The result is amazing and just as fluffy and deeply delicious as the original recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 513kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 775IU | Vitamin C: 2.8mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1.7mg

Update Notes: This post was originally published in December 2014, but was republished with clearer instructions and tips in July 2019.

Cream Baked Roast Potatoes

Cream Baked Roast Potatoes are beautifully rich, tender and crisp. A really luxurious way to pamper your potatoes and your guests on special occasions.

Cream Baked Roast Potatoes

I first had these potatoes at the old Fire Engine House restaurant in Ely, Cambridgeshire where my in-laws live. It’s a lovely restaurant set in the old fire engine house (the name probably didn’t really need explaining). A small bar is situated in the front of the house in a little sitting room area with a roaring fire and gives the illusion that you are guest in somebody’s house. Somebody who is incredibly lucky with a fully stocked bar in their front room. When your table is ready you are led through the house, past the kitchen so you can have a good old nosy at the chefs and into the back dining room that leads out onto a pretty garden. The food is traditional but not the same old same old that is served boringly in gastropubs. All their produce is local, seasonal and all made in their lovely kitchen from the relishes to the jams that accompany the dishes. However where they really won my heart is when they came round just as we were finishing our mains and asked if we wanted seconds. Not only did that cater for my incredibly greedy nature but it also seconded the feeling that you were round at a friend’s house. A very well to do friend with a really fancy house. The staff could not have been more welcoming and when I said how delicious their roast potatoes were, well they told me the recipe.

I didn’t even realise good old faithful roast potatoes could be improved. I mean, I think they must be the most moreish food in existence, there is always room for another potato. This past year I eschewed all white potato in favour of sweet potato as I was living more or less a paleo lifestyle (that is if you don’t count the cake I was eating on a weekly basis) but recently I have re-introduced it to my diet and nothing is making me currently happier than my Sunday Roasts with a traditional roast white potato, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

This week I came across my scribbled notes that I had taken after dining at old Fire Engine House and was reminded of those flavour busting crisp yet creamy potatoes I had eaten by the truckload at the time.

 

It turns out that they are even more special than I had remembered and this time of year when we are preparing our most indulgent recipes for the festive season there is no excuse for not accompanying your turkey with these rich little beasts. The potatoes are cooked twice, first baked in cream, milk and garlic until they are soft and have absorbed most of the garlicky cream, then they are tipped into smoking hot fat and roasted for half an hour so that the cream bakes around the potato like a little crisp jacket, trapping all the flavour and soft texture that was captured during its initial bake.

They do take a little longer to cook than your average roast potato as I like to keep these ones whole but really they are no more bother as they pretty much sort themselves out in the oven. The end result is so worth it that I think you’ll have trouble going back to your usual boring roasties. Make sure you choose potatoes of a similar size to ensure even cooking so each one is as creamy to the fork as the next.

Cream Baked Roast Potatoes

Cream Baked Roast Potatoes are beautifully rich, tender and crisp.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 691kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 400 ml double cream
  • 400 ml whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed with the back of a knife
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 50 ml olive oil

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  • Peel the potatoes then place into a large casserole dish.
  • Pour in the cream and milk and ensure the potatoes are fully submerged and then add the butter, bay leaves, cloves, black peppercorns, salt, garlic cloves and thyme.
  • Put the lid on the casserole dish and bake in the oven for 1½ hours until the potatoes are cooked all the way through.
  • Remove the dish from the oven then turn the heat up to 180°C.
  • Pour the olive oil into a roasting tray and place in the oven for 3 minutes for the oil to heat.
  • Then remove the potatoes from the cream with a slotted spoon and place gently into the hot oil of the roasting tray. Coat the potatoes with the oil and place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes, turning the potatoes halfway through.
  • Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 691kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 56g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 1249mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1720IU | Vitamin C: 30.2mg | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 8.2mg

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

This recipe is not yet gluten-free

In my mind it’s definitely worth starting to think about our festive menus roundabout now, especially if you are going to be inundated with work commitments, parties to attend and then slotting in dates with friends and family. November and December are most people’s very busy months and there is nothing wrong with getting ahead. Of course it helps that I’ve started listening to my Christmas playlist again on Spotify this week so I’m already well involved with the season. At Sainsburys earlier in the week I also couldn’t help but start throwing into my trolley the odd packet of Carr’s Table Biscuits (they always sell out in December) and then the Cheese Footballs that my mum loves to snack on Christmas Day. I remember this is the sort of behaviour that I used to admonish my grandmother for doing; buying birthday cards six months early and making sure she had all her Chrismas Day trifle ingredients by Halloween. Now, I’ve found myself following in her tradition. It’s a dangerous road though, as I’ve already eaten the Cheese Footballs, so they are going to have to go back on the shopping list for a start.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

I’ll never regret planning my menus early though and these tarts will definitely feature somewhere in the mix. I have wanted to do something with chocolate and five-spice for a while. Would it be ice cream? Would it be truffles? Or even cookies? I couldn’t quite decide and then I made some gingerbread biscuits last week for my cake stall and produced far more dough than I needed. It sat in the fridge for a couple of days as I couldn’t quite be bothered to make anymore biscuits.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Suddenly out of nowhere I decided to mould the dough into tart shells, and blind bake them. Before I knew it I was concocting some chocolate ganache infused with five-spice and pouring it into my tart shells. The five-spice powder complements the ginger in the tart shell so perfectly. It’s a lovely warming chocolate tart, perfect for this time of year and since the chocolate filling is a no-bake recipe then it really is so simple to put together.

I was thinking how lovely this would be to serve as a dessert with a dollop of crème fraiche over the festive season and like any good dessert it can happily be made a day or so in advance with minimal effort which means you can focus your last minute panicking for events happening out of the kitchen.

Chocolate and Gingerbread Five Spice Tarts

Chocolate Gingerbread Five-Spice Tarts

Makes 8

350g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
100g unsalted butter, cubed
125g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoon treacle
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
200ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon chinese five-spice powder
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease 8 x 8cm round tart tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mix with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the sugar and mix well.
  5. Warm the golden syrup and treacle slightly in a saucepan to make it runny and easier to use then pour into the rest of the ingredients with the eggs.
  6. Bring the dough together with your hands until it is a nice smooth ball.
  7. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
  8. Roll the dough out to 2-3mm thickness and line the dough into your tart tins. Fill the tart shells with baking beans then place in the oven and blind bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking beans and continue baking for another 5 minutes. Then remove from the oven leave for 15 minutes before removing from the tins and leaving to cool.
  10. For the filling heat the whipping cream with the muscovado sugar and five-spice powder until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 1 minute so it doesn’t scorch the chocolate.
  11. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir together until all the chocolate has melted and formed a thick ganache with the cream.
  12. Spoon the ganache into the tart shells and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours until the chocolate ganache has set.
  13. Decorate with gold leaf and bring up to room temperature to serve.

Victorian Mincemeat

The Victorians knew what they were doing when they added real beef to their mincemeat. For the best mince pies this Christmas try this Victorian Mincemeat and accept no substitute.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas

Mincemeat with Real Meat

Ever since investigating (otherwise known as making and eating a lot of mince pies) the best recipe for making mincemeat and discovering that the Victorians used real meat I have never looked back. For some reason we balk when we hear about mince pies with actual meat in it but I have no idea why. We eat sweet chutneys with ham all the time. In the words of Joey, what’s not to like? Pastry good. Brandied fruits good. Beef gooood. And as it turns out, together, really good.

There are two very fine ladies I turned to in developing this recipe, Delia Smith and Mrs Beeton, two Great British institutions. It wouldn’t be Christmas without either in this house. I took advice from both of them regarding mincemeat and ran with it, adding a few twists and turns along the way.

Which Meat to Use in Mince Pies

This mincemeat recipe uses fresh minced or ground beef. I recommend you choose the highest quality you can find either direct from the farmer or butcher so there is plenty of fat which will give the mincemeat a luxurious quality once cooked. Plus I always advocate buying the best meat you can source for any recipe.

What Does Real Meat Mincemeat Taste Like?

Victorian Mincemeat is so delicious as it eschews an abundance of sweetness. Instead the beef mince adds a wonderful soft texture which is molten in with the rest of the ingredients. Victorian Mincemeat is the ultimate choice for your traditional mince pie, rich, fruity, boozy and you would never know there was meat in it unless told. Which you must do as your vegetarian friends get annoyed. All you think is you are eating the best mince pie in town.

Victorian Mincemeat - a traditional mincemeat made with real beef for the best mince pies this Christmas

How Long Can You Store Victorian Mincemeat

You should decant the raw mincemeat straightaway into sterilised jars and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The sugars and alcohol preserve all the ingredients, including the beef, excellently in this way. However, this recipe contains raw meat so you may want to make sure you are using the freshest and best quality beef you can.

Please note as well that since this recipe contains raw meat you will need to cook the mincemeat, such as within a mince pie, before eating. Use for your favourite mince pie recipe, the cooking time will be the same as for any mincemeat.

If you are looking for some great mince pie recipes to use for this mincemeat then why not try:

More Mincemeat Recipes

  • If you are vegan or veggie and the idea of putting real beef in your mincemeat is a total non-starter then do try Cranberry Cointreau Mincemeat instead which is fresh fruity and delicious.
  • Or for a more modern mincemeat recipe which skips out the real meat but does contain beef suet try this Easy Mincemeat Recipe.

If you make this Victorian Mincemeat then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Victorian Mincemeat

For the best mince pies this Christmas try this Victorian Mincemeat and accept no substitute.
Prep Time40 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 90
Calories: 68kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 bramley apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cox apple peeled, cored and diced
  • 200 g beef suet get your suet from the butcher if you need it gluten-free*
  • 200 g raw beef mince
  • 275 g raisins
  • 225 g currants
  • 100 g natural glace cherries diced
  • 100 g pitted prunes diced
  • 300 g dark brown sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • grated zest and juice of ½ red grapefruit
  • grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 50 g whole almonds slivered
  • 4 teaspoons mixed ground spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 100 ml brandy

Instructions

  • Stir everything together in a large mixing bowl and decant into sterilised jars.
  • You can use this mincemeat straightaway in your favourite mince pie recipe or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Notes

Do persevere with different butchers if you are finding fresh suet hard to get hold of. All of my butchers in the high street couldn't get hold of suet for me and in the end I had success with going direct to the farm. To prepare the suet I grated it in the food processor using the grater attachment with scant amounts of rice flour to allow the suet to separate nicely. Sinewy bits will get entangled in the blades, just stop the processor, throw these bits away and carry on going. I store my suet in 200g bags in the freezer for easy use.
Since the mincemeat contains raw beef mince the mincemeat should be cooked into a mince pie before eating. Use your favourite mince pie recipe, you will not need to alter the cooking times.

Nutrition

Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg