Unwrapping the cacao from its gold wrapping I was surprised by how wonderful the chocolate smelt (and tasted ... ahem), the typical chocolate smell reached me first and was then quickly followed by a fruity waft. Mmmmmmmm, lovely. This product maybe expensive but I am very impressed by the quality and will be purchasing more.
Chocolate Mince Pies
For the Pastry
280g plain flour
25g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter
85g golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp whole milk
For the Mincemeat
50g cacao, finely grated
3 apples, such as russet or cox, grated
100g semi dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 tbsp each light brown and dark brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp each ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg and mixed spice
Zest of juice of 2 lemons or oranges
5 tbsp rum or calvados or Grand Marnier
5 tbsp cognac
2 tbsp olive oil
Icing sugar, to finish
Prepare the pastry by putting the flour and almonds into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like very fine breadcrumbs. Sprinkle in the sugar and add the lemon zest, egg yolk and milk and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together. Tip the pastry mixture on to a board and gently squeeze until it comes together into a ball - add water if it feels dry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 190C (fan). Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a few millimeters. Using a 7cm cutter, cut out 24 discs and use to line two 12 hole bun tins. Gather up and roll out the pastry again and use a 6cm cutter for the lids.
To make the mincemeat, first mix the cacao and apple in a large bowl. Blitz the dried fruit together in a food processor and add to the bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the icing sugar and stir well. Spoon 1-2 teaspoonfuls into each pastry case, dampen the edge of the pastry bottom with water and sit a smaller pastry disc on top. Pierce each lid to allow steam to escape and bake for 12-15 mins until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar.
Note: This makes more mincemeat than you need but the leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to a couple of weeks.
Makes 24 and lots of leftover mincemeat
From 'Willie's Chocolate Factory Cookbook' by Willie Harcourt-Cooze
If you like a boozy mince pie then this is the recipe for you. Apart from the colour of the mincemeat though the chocolate flavour is lost with all the Grand Marnier and Cognac. The pastry is wonderful though, especially with the lemon zest in it so I'll be making that again. The mincemeat? Maybe ...