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Mince pies bake day webchat with Dan Lepard, 29 November, 1-2pm

(103 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Nov-11 16:42:55

Continuing our season of Christmas cookery webchats (Delia was first), we're delighted to announce that Dan Lepard will be joining us to chat about Christmas baking on Tues 29 Nov at 1pm.

Dan has kindly allowed us to share with Mumsnetters his mincemeat recipe and to make mince pies, his easy sweet shortcrust pastry and his gluten-free pastry recipes, all from his latest book, Short & Sweet, The Best of Home Baking.

This will be Dan's third visit to Mumsnet and, like we've done previously, we'll do a 'here's one we made earlier' and film Dan making his mince pies and upload the film post-webchat.

Do join him, or post any questions you've got about Christmas baking in advance.

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:04:13

coolascucumber

I used to have a recipe for mince pies that included ground almonds in the pastry. I've lost it and can't seem to get the proportions right when guestimating - can you help me re-create my "perfect" mince pies. Feel like Proust forever remembering madeleines mince pies from my past...

To 250g flour, 150g butter, 50g icing/caster sugar (icing helps it to roll easier) 50g ground almonds, 2 egg yolks, 15ml water or brandy...that might be like it.

Lcf2011 Tue 29-Nov-11 13:08:39

Hi Dan, If I wanted to jazz some mince pies up with a different kind of topping - crumbly or almondy, what would you suggest?

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:09:10

sandy06

hi, do you have a GF shortbread recipe? Thank you

I would use a recipe like this:
175g gluten-free plain flour (Like Doves Farm)
75g icing sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
¼ tsp salt
plus a little egg white: the reason for the white is that gluten-free flour tends to bake a bit crumbly, and the white will help it hold together

Method, slowly work everything togther with your fingers, using just enough white to make a firm but pliable dough. Rolll, cut, bake at 140C for 25 - 35 minutes until firm and just golden

ppeatfruit Tue 29-Nov-11 13:09:23

Thank you so much for yr answer about my kamut and spelt flour pastry; there is a problem with yr recipe though (sorry to be fussy) but I don't like to put eggs in it, would it be okay with a bit of extra baking powder?

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:14:31

missorinoco

I rolled it out as per some other instructions to the width of my little finger and it was the mince pie equivalent of builders' tea! What do you suggest?

We've got a nifty video coming up on the mumsnet site here that shows how to roll the pastry thin enough to taste delicate, but still get it off the worktop easily: the trick is to use the base from an old tart tin, one that's just a smooth round flat disc of metal, so you can slide it under the pastry easily.

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:17:37

Lcf2011

Hi Dan, If I wanted to jazz some mince pies up with a different kind of topping - crumbly or almondy, what would you suggest?

In this December's issue of Sainsbury's Magazine I've got three topping recipe ideas. One is a mixture of flaked almonds, heated with a little double cream, honey and vanilla, to spoon over the mincemeat instead of a pastry lid for baking. The almond mixture turns crisp, really lovely to eat.

Another is more straightforward: a bakewell topping with slivers of cranberry stirred through. There is a third but I can't remember ;)

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:19:08

ppeatfruit

Thank you so much for yr answer about my kamut and spelt flour pastry; there is a problem with yr recipe though (sorry to be fussy) but I don't like to put eggs in it, would it be okay with a bit of extra baking powder?

Leave the egg out, but replace it with a little almond or cashew butter: will help it taste a little richer

Solo Tue 29-Nov-11 13:22:43

I'm not here to ask a question, just here for the ride...love, love, love pastry. Sadly it's started to show blush. Ok, a question:

Low fat/carb/calorie pastry Dan? <hopeful>

bagelmonkey Tue 29-Nov-11 13:28:57

Hello Dan,
Not everyone in my family loves pastry.
Could I make an alternative to mince pies with something other than pastry? Like shortbread topped with mincemeat millionaire-style instead of the caramel?

Solo Tue 29-Nov-11 13:36:41

Is Dan thumbing through his recipe book? wink

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:38:52

Slubberdegullion

If you were of a mind to make a snazzy mince pie, the sort of mince pie that you would hope someone to mouth the words "wow, what is in this mince pie?" Would you bugger about with alter the mincemeat, or the pastry, or both?

Tricky, depends of the party. I think a brandy-rich filling, with more prunes than currants (the quick mincemeat recipe on mumsnet is good for last minute tweaks), and some vanilla seeds in the pastry, would get it there. Serve them warm too.

But...if it was a glitzier crowd, might want to stick something fancy on the top: maybe make a hole through the pastry and spoon a tiny dollop of brandy or rum butter in.

Clearly, both are for parties where alchohol is liked ;)

painterly Tue 29-Nov-11 13:44:06

hello, just wanted to say thanks; have looked up pigs in duvets <<impressed at memory.. 2007 article!>>. So would that work just as well with some pieces of chocolate or jam etc for a sweet type roll?

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:45:02

Solo

I'm not here to ask a question, just here for the ride...love, love, love pastry. Sadly it's started to show blush. Ok, a question:

Low fat/carb/calorie pastry Dan? <hopeful>

Hi Solo, if you look up the thread to an answer I gave badtasteflump for a low-carb mince pie, that will help...but the difficulty is reducing the flour (carbs, even GF flours), the sugar (not so tricky, could use Splenda) and the fat (surely a good mince pie is about butter.

I'm careful about what I eat now, and find that it's better for me to plan to eat carbs - really good bread, cake, great mince pies - as a treat and to then fill up the rest of the time on lots of fresh non-starchy veg and fruit. And exercise like mad. Honestly, I wouldn't be happy cutting carbs out of my life too much.

You could do things like bake mini apples, cored, and fill the centre with mincemeat. Making the flavours traditional but the appearance different.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 29-Nov-11 13:46:22

Hello Dan
I'm not working today shock but have just seen your lovely book for sale when out and about and have added it to my Christmas List!
What are pigs in duvets? Sound amazing

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:47:05

bagelmonkey

Hello Dan,
Not everyone in my family loves pastry.
Could I make an alternative to mince pies with something other than pastry? Like shortbread topped with mincemeat millionaire-style instead of the caramel?

Yes, and see above - using baked apples - but love your idea of a mincemeat millionaire. Chocolat truffles, or those cake crumb ones made with chocolate cake and cooked mincemeat (you want the suet to melt, or use the cooked mincemeat recipe on mumsnet.

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:49:01

painterly

hello, just wanted to say thanks; have looked up pigs in duvets <<impressed at memory.. 2007 article!>>. So would that work just as well with some pieces of chocolate or jam etc for a sweet type roll?

Yes: chocolate would be great, jam would probably ooze out during baking. How about tinned cherries and chopped apple baked in, sweetened with a little sugar. A firm pastry custard would be good, perhaps mixed with a little nutella

Persephoney Tue 29-Nov-11 13:49:05

Hi Dan,

I'm pretty confident baking cakes and pastry, but I just lose it when it comes to bread. What would you recommend for some nice rolls to go with soup for a Christmas Day starter? I have some fresh yeast lurking in my freezer from a very optimistic shopping trip a few months ago but have always been to scared to actually bake the bread!

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:50:12

OliviaMumsnet

Hello Dan
I'm not working today shock but have just seen your lovely book for sale when out and about and have added it to my Christmas List!
What are pigs in duvets? Sound amazing

These:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/feb/03/foodanddrink.recipes2

painterly Tue 29-Nov-11 13:51:33

love the ideas. Thanks Dan will have a go.

DanLepard Tue 29-Nov-11 13:54:40

[quote Persephoney]Hi Dan,

I'm pretty confident baking cakes and pastry, but I just lose it when it comes to bread. What would you recommend for some nice rolls to go with soup for a Christmas Day starter? I have some fresh yeast lurking in my freezer from a very optimistic shopping trip a few months ago but have always been to scared to actually bake the bread![/quote

The "Easy White Bread" recipe in Short and Sweet (here http://zebbakes.com/2011/01/10/dan-lepards-easy-white-bread-by-brian/ )
is an easy one to flavour. Or..if you prefer a soft roll, check out the recipes in this Sat's Guardian Weekend Magazine: packed with fresh herbs and delicious.

Solo Tue 29-Nov-11 13:54:47

Hmmmmm...food for thought! thank you Dan!

Persephoney Tue 29-Nov-11 13:56:47

Thanks, herby soft rolls sound brilliant!

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 29-Nov-11 13:59:19

I am starting to wish i actually liked cooking, as some of these things sound quite yummy
Sadly i have all the grand ideas but don't like making them
I used to make mince pies every year but no one in this house likes them except me shockingly I now just buy myself some

sorry that wasn't really a question more of a ponder!

Earthymama Tue 29-Nov-11 14:01:03

Not a Christmassy ask, but a question re savoury tarts.
When I lived up North every visit home to my mother and grandmother meant there would be loads of baked goods available.
Coned beef tart remains a wonderful memory.
Any ideas for a veggie alternative? I do open tarts with tomato and cheese or a mushroom filling but would love to recreate that home coming feeling.
PS I like everything except goats cheese bleurgh!!

Can I share my best tip for handling delicate pastry, and in exchange squeeze in another question?

It is to roll the pastry between two sheets of clingfilm, and only remove one to transfer the pastry to the tin. Only remove the second sheet when you've finished tucking the pastry into the fluting(or whatever design of tin).

And my question is please oh ever so pretty please can I have a recipe for gingerbread that won't taste and feel cardboardy when we eat the gingerbread house?

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