Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Festive Bakes ~ Cranberry & Pear Pies

It's time to get out the aprons again ladies!
  I've decided to make a really tasty alternative to the humble mince pie.
I'm not a huge fan of 'shop' bought mince pies, and if you don't like them at all, shop bought or homemade, then these Cranberry & Pear Pies are a super easy substitute!
As always, everything has been made by my own fair hands,  no electric mixers!
OK here's what you will need!
~ Cranberry & Pear Pies ~
Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease a 12 hole bun tin.
~ Pastry Ingredients ~
200g Cold Butter Cubed
400g Plain flour
100g Ground almonds
100g Caster Sugar
Rind of 1 Orange
2 - 6 tbsp Orange Juice
~ Filling Ingredients ~
400g Fresh or Frozen Cranberry's (I used frozen)
50g Caster Sugar
25g Corn Flour
325g Orange Curd
450g Ripe Pears  (peeled,cored & chopped)
~ Method ~
Make the filling first ~
Put the Cranberries, sugar and cornflour into a pan, stir then add the orange curd. Cook over a medium heat for 5 or so minutes or until thickened. Add the pears and cook for a further few minutes stirring as you go.
By this time the cranberries will have broken down and the mixture will be a glorious festive red colour!
Remove from the heat and pour out into a bowl and allow to cool.
Next make the pastry ~
In a large bowl add the flour, almonds & butter, 'rub' together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then mix in the sugar and the orange rind.
Next add the orange juice, start off with 2 tbsp and start to mix the dough together, use a wooden spoon first then use your fingers, keep adding more orange juice until the dough comes together fully.
There should be no bits of dough left in the bowl at the end and the dough should be nice and workable.
The amount of orange juice you need to add will vary, depending on the brand and quality of the flour you are using.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for 15 minutes.
Once chilled,  flour your work surface and roll out the dough to around 3mm thick. Then using a 8cm fluted round cutter, cut out 12 rounds and line each 'hole' of  the bun tin with them.
Re roll out the left over dough and take a small star cutter, one small enough to fit the top of the pies and cut out 12 stars, put to one side for now.
Next fill the pastry cases with your cooled filling,  make sure they are filled pretty much to the top, but don't over fill them.
Now take your pastry stars and put them on top of your filled pies as a festive finishing 'lid'.
Finally brush the pastry stars with a beaten egg or a little milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, keep and eye on them as they can quickly go from not quite done to burnt!
Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes then remove carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely.

These are best eaten fresh on the day of baking, but will last a couple of days in a air tight tin.
Serve with fresh cream or some brandy butter and a large cup of tea!
Enjoy my lovelies!!
Jenny xx