Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mince Pies (V) (GF pastry)

I’ll admit I find gluten free pastry a little fiddly to handle but it tastes wonderful- as good as any good quality shortcrust.  I always buy the Sainsburys mincemeat which comes in a jar with a red lid (I’ve tried other types of mincemeat but not liked the taste as much and some brands contain alcohol). Having said that, check the jar ingredients in case the mincemeat doesn't conform to your dietary requirements. This recipe makes roughly 9 mince pies and I used (Gluten Free) Doves Farm Plain White Flour instead of wheat flour. I didn’t bother using eggwash on the pies but I did sprinkle some caster sugar and cinammon on top of them at the end and this made them look nice (otherwise without eggwash, gluten free pastry doesn’t colour well). This recipe sounds tricky and fiddly, but the results were well worth the effort!  Edit: I’ve now got a bluetooth dongle so I can show you how the mince pies looked too- shame you don’t have taste-a-vision cos’ they tasted loooovely!

100g Plain White Gluten Free Flour
50g Butter
2-3 tablespoons Water
1 small jar Mincemeat
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 whisked egg as eggwash (optional)
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
A pinch of cinammon

- Rub the butter and turmeric into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs, then mix in enough water so that it comes together as a dough

- Leave the dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes

- Take the dough out and roll it carefully between two sheets of clingfilm till it is about 3-4mm thick, then peel off the top layer of film, cut into circles using straight (ie not fluted) round pastry cutters; using slightly larger round cutters for the base and slightly smaller ones to go on top

- Place each of the larger base pastry circles into a bun tin, then place a teaspoon of mincemeat in each of the bases and top them with the smaller pastry circles

- Brush the tops with the whisked egg (or if on an egg free diet then don't bother) and poke 2-3 holes into the centre of each pie using the back of a teaspoon

- Bake on the top shelf of the oven at gas mark 6 for 25 minutes

- Leave to cool slightly in the bun tin, then put the sugar and cinammon into a seive or tea strainer and lightly sprinkle it over the mince pies

- Serve warm with a little cream or icecream and a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Cooks tips:
- Using butter in pastry can make it fragile and more easily breakable whilst it’s being rolled out or shaped so some people find it easier to substitute up to half of the butter with a white fat such as trex instead. This makes the pastry easier to mould and less likely to fall apart (but I never use white fat because I think it tastes much better using just butter even if it is more fiddly to handle)

- If the dough is too warm, it becomes too fragile and breaks easily (which is why putting it in the fridge for a while helps), whereas if it is in the fridge for too long, it feels a bit stiff. What I do is after refrigerating it, I leave the dough out for five minutes and if it is still a bit stiff, I press it gently with my hands whilst rolling it. When it is at the right temperature neither too hot nor cold, then it is fairly straightforward to work with.

- In my experience, this type of pastry dough is suitable for freezing. I left the frozen pastry in the fridge overnight and then out at room temperature for a couple of hours before rolling it out and had excellent results.

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