Christmas is by far my most favourite time of year. From the upbeat songs on the radio and cult classic movies on TV, to the daily excuse to eat chocolate and slow cooked hearty dinners every evening. Believe it or not, Winter-time, may possibly be my most favourite season of the year!
For my most festive recipe, a twist on the classic mince pie, I got the chance to bake at Barnwell Cottage, a luxurious, self-catering country cottage set in the heart of Cubert. Full of character and charm with its 200 year old beams, cob and stone walls, complimented with sleek modern wood burners and polished concrete worktops. It's the perfect setting for an encapsulating Christmas homestay and is available to rent all year round. The open plan kitchen and living areas means you're not missing out on the festive antics and family time can be enjoyed in abundance.
I teamed up with my favourite beachside boutique Bon Bon Fistral, this hidden gem sells local and international brands carefully and responsibly sourced from across the globe and is located overlooking the iconic Fistral Beach in Newquay. Look out for the stunning collection of Christmas ball balls, glassware and ceramics, all available to buy online and in-store.
On to the recipe and here are the list of ingredients you'll need for my Mince Pie Bakewell tart, I have also included my new favourite beverage - Vegan Spiced Cacao Hot Chocolate, perfectly paired for the ultimate Christmas indulgence.
125g melted butter
100g golden caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
100g ground almonds
75g gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp almond oil
25g flaked almonds
250g good quality gluten free mince meat
(I love Meridian organic mince pie filling)
Zest of 2 clementines
If short for time...
1 pack pre rolled shortcrust pastry
Or if your after a gluten free homemade pastry...
200g Doves farm gluten free plain flour
100g cold salted butter (I love roddas)
Few tablespoons water
If you have the time, or your following the gluten free option to this recipe, begin by making the pastry. Simply sift the flour into a large mixing bowl then add the cubed cold butter and rub together lightly with your fingertips until you achieve golden breadcrumbs. Then add the water a tablespoon at a time until the mix comes together to form a smooth dough. Then wrap the dough tightly in cling film and chill in the fridge to rest when ilst preparing the filling.
Next begin the frangipane mix, which will be crowning your mince pies, by melting the butter gently in a saucepan. Once melted but not too hot, add to the ground almonds, caster sugar and almond oil. Stir to combine then add both eggs and beat until you have a smooth consistency. Finally add the gluten free flour and set aside for assembly of the tarts.
Whether shop bought or homemade, roll out your chilled pastry and cut out discs slightly larger than your muffin tin spaces using a cutter or carefully with the top of a jar or glass. Place the discs of pastry onto the muffin tin and use your fingertips to gently mound it to the inside of the tin, stretching it slightly up the sides. This results in a super thin pastry case which isn't too heavy, allowing more room for the filling (and you can eat more than one!)
Next add the clementine zest to your mincemeat and fill each tart with around two generous teaspoons of the mix.
Finally top each tart with enough frangipane mix to cover all the filling and leaving each tart almost full to the brim. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and place in a pre heated oven at 170 for 15-20 mins when the tops and nicely domed and golden.
About 5 mins after taking them out of the oven, use a small knife to gently release and lift them out of the tin and onto a cooling rack. If you wait until they fully cool any overflow of mincemeat glues them to the tin, but if you do it when they're too hot they could collapse! Barnwell Cottage has a Stoves Oven which is a classic British cooker and bakes to perfection!
Serve dusted with icing sugar and a dollop of brandy cream. And don't forget, if you haven't eaten them all, leave one out for Father Christmas!
A lovely winter warmer to serve along side a mince pie is my vegan spiced cacao, this makes two generous cups...
Vegan Spiced Cacao Hot Chocolate
4 heaped tablespoons organic cacao powder
2 heaped tablespoons organic coconut sugar (I use Biona)
600ml Rude Health nut milk, today I used cashew as it's extra thick and creamy but almond or oat would work well too
2 cinnamon sticks left whole
Thumb sizes pice of ginger peeled
1/2 whole nutmeg (or pinch of powder)
This recipe is really simple and so delicious. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan, grating in the ginger and nutmeg and stir on a medium heat until the milk starts steaming, it becomes dark and thick after just a few mins. Pour into your favourite festive drinking vessels and make sure each drink has its own cinnamon stick bobbing on the top! For extra Christmas cheers add a cheeky shot of your favourite spirit or liquor. I like Cointreau which adds a touch of orange or a good splash of almond Baileys adds a nutty vanilla taste.
I hope you enjoy my favourite festive recipes, its time to site fireside, snuggled up with my favourite Atlantic blanket and plan for Christmas Day antics. Thank you to all the contributors, do check below for links to my favourite products featured in this blog.
Finally wishing you all a very Merry Christmas 2017! Keep an eye out for my Next blog where I'll be sharing my favourite New Years Eve tipple paired with my Saturday exclusive sausage rolls.