Countdown to Christmas: Eric Lanlard’s Mince Pie Recipe

eric lanlard mince pie recipe

“The build-up to the festive season wouldn’t be the same without mince pies, and it’s a tradition I am more than happy to embrace – I just love them! I’ve added a little continental twist to this recipe and added Nielsen-Massey to bring the pastry to life!” –Eric Lanlard, Master Pâtissier.

Serves 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the mincemeat
250g golden sultanas
250g natural glacé
cherries, halved
250g raisins
100g mixed peel
125g unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract
finely grated zest of 1 orange
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
250g dark muscavado sugar
250ml amaretto liqueur

For the pies
butter, for greasing
250g short crust pastry
plain flour, for dusting
250g ready-made or homemade puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
15g light muscavado sugar

eric lanlard mince pie recipe

Put all the dried fruit and spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Place the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, grated zest, sugar and amaretto in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved – do not let it boil.
Pour over the mixed fruit and stir gently, without breaking up the fruits.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to infuse for 48 hours.
Pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to allow the flavours to mature.

Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract high res (1)

When you are ready to make the mince pies, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4.
Grease 6 x individual 10cm (4in) diameter loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and use to line the tins.
Generously fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat (this will use approximately 500g).
Roll out the puff pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and brush it with the beaten egg.
Using a star-shaped cutter, cut out 6 star shapes, or any shape you like, to cover the tart and place them on top of the mincemeat. Sprinkle with the light muscovado sugar.
Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the stars have all puffed up. Serve warm with some crème fraîche drizzled with amaretto and sprinkled with roasted flaked almonds – heaven!

Enjoy!

Book Review: The Icing on the Cake by Juliet Stallwood (Decorating Baked Treats)

the icing on the cake juliet stallwood book review baking decorating

Book Review: The Icing on the Cake by Juliet Stallwood (Decorating Baked Treats)

Here at Tasty Gorgeous we were sent this fabulous book to review – The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood. Those familiar with her work will know her as a proclaimed baker and cake decorator. She has a long history of innovative cake design and her own bakery business located in the village of Semley in Dorset. She makes and sells her products to a devoted following including Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar. She was also recently featured in Country Living Magazine and also runs classes teaching people how to decorate cakes and baked goods. She has now published ‘The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats’ for home bakers also.

the icing on the cake juliet stallwood book review baking decorating

This as her first book, is a wonderful look into decorating many tempting treats such as cakes, cookies, meringues, whoopie pies, chocolates and brownies. Plus it has useful hints and tips for bakers no matter their level of expertise.

The book is divided into five sections, not alphabetised or by type of baked good as you might expect but describing situations when you might want to bake, for example the book begins with the chapter entitled ‘Decorate to Indulge’ is followed by both ‘Decorate to Love’ and ‘Decorate to Celebrate’ and ends with the more decadent chapter ‘Decorate to Impress’. The final chapter sees Stallwood describe her ‘Best-Kept Secrets’ including details of equipment, handling and covering cakes and a number of guides and templates to recreate her recipes with ease.

Many of the recipes and techniques given could be sourced elsewhere and don’t seem particularly distinct however both the language used is likeable and easy to understand and the designs shown throughout the book have been displayed in a fresh and unique style.

sugared rose petal cake juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

Decorate to Indulge includes some wonderfully simple but effective ways to decorate a multitude of baked goodies with beautiful full colour page photographs, guides and illustrative drawings. Techniques covered include creating sugared rose petals, chocolate work and piping skills whereas recipes of whoopie pies, macaroons and biscuits are also presented.

Decorate to Love shows off Stallwoods signature style with some stunning corset biscuits, decorated and piped to perfection. This chapter also includes some useful recipe charts for chocolate and sponge cakes of different sizes which makes a great reference guide. She also tackles some more difficult techniques including stencilling and using royal icing efficiently.

corset biscuits juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

The next chapter is Decorate to Celebrate which covers as you might expect cakes and baking ideas including occasions such as christenings, birthdays, christmas and weddings. This chapter concentrates mostly on using sugarpaste decorations and modelling featuring a fancy gingerbread house and a helpful fruit cake recipe chart. For those who enjoy figure modelling you’re sure to love the cute party penguins and adorable baby shower cupcakes.

Decorate to Impress is full of ideas that look visually stunning and although appear to be more difficult, the step by step guides are easy to follow. The recipes in this section are a little more challenging and include how to create a tiered wedding cake and make realistic looking sugar flowers.

chocolate mini cakes juliet stallwood the icing on the cake recipe book review

The Best-Kept Secrets chapter is a wonderful reference for new and experienced bakers alike including everything from an ideal list of baking equipment to lining a cake tin to covering, icing and stacking cakes. A limited suppliers list is also included.

In conclusion The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats is an engaging book that covers a multitude of invaluable techniques and includes over 50 achievable recipes. Although it is more suited to a beginner or novice baker it is equally good for those with more experience as a reference guide, to refresh the mind on techniques or to read for a little inspiration.

The Icing on the Cake: Your Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Decorating Baked Treats by Juliet Stallwood is currently available, rrp £16.99.

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Exploring my Tea Collection

tea collection

Like most Brits I love tea but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered just how many types of tea I currently own. I like trying new flavours – anything from black tea to white tea, green tea, fruit tea, decaf, infusions and herbal blends.

tea collection

my enormous tea collection!

 

I enjoy making tea with real tea leaves and regularly take my time having a tea break (and quite often cake too!) and love the custom of it all but I equally love having a quick brew first thing in the morning to start my day. I’ll quickly mention here that I do also drink coffee (my tassimo machine is a firm friend!) but tea is my go-to beverage on most occasions so that’s why I’m sharing some of my favourites with you.

At the moment I have around 30 different kinds of tea. This may seem extreme but I love to have a choice and often when friends and family go abroad they bring me some tea back to try as they know I love it so much! I have mostly a collection of teabag teas widely available in the UK including some instant tea from Whittards and also several loose leaf teas from Hong Kong.

Twinings, Whittards, Clipper and Bellevue

Twinings, Whittards, Clipper and Bellevue to name a few

 

My favourite flavour of tea is green tea with lemon – I know some find it an acquired taste but I think it’s so delicious! I also love a good Earl Grey but I have to be in the right mood to drink one. The best Earl Grey tea I’ve tried so far is from Bellevue and has a really strong bergamot aroma and deep flavour.

a few teapigs teas

a few teapigs teas

 

I’ve tried some more unique tea flavours recently – namely from Teapigs – as they have different ranges or types of teas recommended for different moods. Some I’ve tried and liked include Chocolate Tea (best of both worlds there!), Tung Ting Oolong (not pictured but described as being somewhere between black and green tea which I think is amazing if like me you love green teas but crave the traditional black tea flavour), Rooibos Crème Caramel – which is delicious if you have a sweet tooth and Yerba Mate which is super similar to Whittards Gunpowder Tea – both smoky and full of antioxidants to give you a boost of energy.

whittard tea selection

whittard tea selection

 

The flavours I’ve hated from Teapigs are popcorn which I just found a bit weird and liquorice and mint tea which I found sickly sweet and not nice in the slightest. You might like it if you’ve got a very sweet tooth perhaps.

I also have this selection box of teas from Whittards and I think it’s such a great way to try new teas so you don’t need to buy a whole box of tea and then if you don’t like it, it goes to waste. My favourite flavour from this selection is actually the gunpowder tea which I drink without milk and which has a sweet and smoky flavour.

Let me know if there are any particular teas you would like reviewing in depth. Do you have a favourite flavour of tea? Perhaps you don’t drink it at all?