Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking it Easier

It may be that you have not yet got around to buying mincemeat, or even making your own. If you want to make your own, maybe you have not got enough spare jars. But there again, you might have plenty of apples and whis to use them up, so maybe this recipe will fit many bills. This version is especially for keeping in the freezer (as the amount of apples means it will not keep more than 3 weeks stored in any other way). If you choose not to freeze, then make it mid-December to keep in the fridge, and use by the end of the year. Ideally, after assembling this mincemeat, fill small (or large) pies using short-crust pastry, and freeze these, un-baked, ready to pop into the oven when on for something else.
Mincemeat from the freezer: (F)
1 lb (450g) raisins
3 oz (75g) mixed peel
2 lb (1kg) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
12 oz (325g) currants
8 oz (225g) sultanas
8 oz (225g) dates or no-soak apricots, finely chopped
6 oz (175g) shredded suet
1 tsp mixed spice
4 tblsp lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2lb (675g) gran sugar
6 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
Ideally, mince the dried fruits and apples (these could be grated and the rest of the fruit chopped or processed together to bring them down to an even size. Otherwise chop as small as possible, but whichever way, they should have some body to them, not turned into a puree. When prepared, place in a bowl and add the suet, spice, lemon juice and zest, and whichever booze you have chosen. Mix thoroughly and leave to stand overnight.
Freeze by packing into small containers, cover, label and freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge and use as required.

This 'freezer dish' is the perfect way to recycle some of those plastic containers that come wrapped around 'things'. Recently bought a pack of Jaffa cake 'rolls', each tucked inside an orange 'mould', and these plastic containers were saved and perfect for this dessert. If you don't have any similar containers, brush the insides of paper cup-cake cases with the chocolate. Once filled and frozen, the paper peels off easily.
As to the glace fruits. Ideally, use glace cherries that come in assorted colours: red, yellow and green. Alternatively use some chopped peel (as used in cakes) with some chopped red glace cherries and chopped green angelica.
Chocolate Tutti-frutti: serves 6 (F)
5 oz (150g) plain chocolate
2 eggs, separated
2 oz (50g) caster sugar
5 fl oz (150ml) double cream
3 oz (75g) glace fruits, chopped
Liqueur (Drambuie, Cointreau etc to taste)
Melt the chocolate in a bowl standing over simmering water, and use this to coat the inside of six small moulds or paper cake cases.
Whisk the egg yolks until pale and thick. Using bery clean beaters and bowl, whisk the egg whites until thick, adding the sugar a teaspoon at a time to make a meringue. Using the same beaters, whisk the cream until softly peaked then fold in the beaten egg yolks alternately with the meringue, finally folding in the liqueur and glace fruits.
Spoon the mixture into the chocolate cases, and smooth level the tops. Cover surfaces with foil and freeze at once. Thaw at room temperature for about 5 minutes, then ease out of the moulds and upturn to serve on a plate.
Tip: if there is not enough filling to reach the tops of the moulds, then freeze as above for a short time to firm up, then cover with more melted chocolate to enclose filling completely then return to the freezer. Use within 3 months.