December 2 2013 at 12:05pm By Angela Day
Johannesburg - Mince pies, that Christmas treat of sweet fruit and pastry, are on the shelves of every supermarket, but which to pick?
On our panel this year were Nancy Kinyua, a pastry lecturer at the HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg, Puleng Mash-Spies, the controversial contestant on Come Dine with Me South Africa, her sister Jessica Diamond, a make-up artist and aspiring actress, and expert baker Maatje Vollmer, who gives regular baking classes at the Angela Day Kitchen.
There were eight fruit mince pies for the panel to taste. It was a blind tasting so no one knew where each pie came from.
The pies were served slightly warmed, and the panel was asked to rate them according to appearance, ratio of pastry to filling, taste and value for money.
The panel took to their task with great enthusiasm and each pie was carefully assessed.
In a very close second place were the pies from Game Stores, which has started making mince pies for the first time.
Nancy: They are well baked with crisp pastry, and they are good value for money.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thickness and cut out 12 rounds to fit the base of patty pans.
Gather up any scraps, roll out again and cut out slightly smaller rounds for the tops.
Spoon 15-20ml of the mincemeat into the pastry cases and dampen the edges with a little water. Top with pastry rounds and prick lids with a fork.
Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle generously with castor sugar.
PASTRY: Put the flour, castor sugar and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
While pulsing the machine, add the egg and enough ice water to form a dough. Take care not to over mix.
Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface until smooth. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out 8-10cm discs to line your patty pans.
Put spoonfuls of fruit mince mixture into the pastry and spread with the almond topping.
ALMOND TOPPING: Put the butter and sugar into a processor and cream until well blended. Add the eggs and mix well.