Christmas treats were overflowing at our house this year. Shortbread, spritz cookies, caramel corn, pastries, cakes....and mince pies. I was introduced to mince pies and all sorts of other English treats when I met D, and have been eating them every Christmas since. His sister makes them every year, and when we visit Deep River we always look for the green tin (that's where they live) and sneak as many mince pies as we can throughout the day without being noticed. And then have a few more at tea time with everyone else. Did I mention they are delicious?
Since we didn't travel this year, there was no magic green tin of mince pies. So I emailed D's sister and got some instructions on how to make my own. Mince pies are little pies filled with a mincemeat - a mixture of chopped dried fruits (raisins, currants, apples), sugar, spices and traditionally, some sort of suet/fat. Mincemeat may have originally been made with meat, but these days the meat component is probably limited to suet. You can make mincemeat from scratch, or you can buy it pre-made in a jar - mine was a store-bought vegetarian kind. If you go online looking for mince pie recipes, you'll find that a lot of people seem to add extra chopped cooked apples and liquor to spiff up their fillings. I just used it straight from the jar. I'm not exactly a mince pie connoisseur, but I thought they tasted pretty good.
For the pastry, I just used the basic pie crust recipe on the back of a box of Crisco, except that I used a bit of butter instead of all shortening. Each pie was made from a 2" circle of rolled dough, topped with a star cut-out. I made them in a little cupcake pan, but if you are a serious mince pie maker there are special tins you can buy.
As for updates, I think my backlog of blog stuff is dwindling. I only have a couple more things to post about...a few little knitting projects I just finished up. My crafting to-do list includes some curtains (boring) and working on a quilt. D's been working a lot, and I've been volunteering. Plus we've had to run around getting all sorts of errands done. We had to get our chimney flashed because there was a leak. We had to get medical exams for our permanent residency application. This Saturday, we are hosting a book club (The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon...very gripping and beautifully written...) and I am cooking a gluten-free vegan dinner for that. Tonight we're having dinner at my volunteer boss' house.
Oh! We also went on our hospital tour of the birthing centre...the facilities were really nice, the staff seem great, and the program itself seems quite progressive and they offer lots of support to new families. Yay!
That's all for now!