Mum has a way of making things feel extra special. Every year since I was a child we would sit at the work-top in her kitchen and make mince pies together. Years pass by but she always wears her white angel wings all day on Christmas eve and and it always makes me smile as we make a fresh batch of mince pies.  Something about it always makes us enjoy it more together and now that I have children of my own I find it so beautiful that the tradition has carried on. My little boy was cutting out stars for the mince pies just the way I did as a child. On Friday we made a small batch and also some Florentines for our Cotton and Pearl Christmas party. Recipes below for you to enjoy.

Mince Pies

Short crust clementine pastry

500g flour

250g butter

Juice of 2 large clementines

Icing sugar-for dusting

1 x circular cookie cutter

1 x star cookie cutter (small)

Rub the flour and butter together until breadcrumbs are formed.  Mix in the juice and add a little water.  Knead to form a nice smooth dough.  Chill in the fridge.

When ready to make your mince pies, roll out the dough in small batches and ensure nice and thin so the pastry isn’t too thick when it bakes.  We use ready bought mince (you can make it if you prefer or have the time).

Preheat oven 180

Cut out circular shapes for the base of the pie and use little fairy cake trays.  Place the circular pastry in the individual bases.  Fill with one heaped teaspoon of mince pie filling and then place your cut out pastry stars on top.

Bake for approx. 15 minutes

Cool of a wire rack and then dust lightly with icing sugar

Florentines

25g unsalted butter

75g caster sugar

15g plain flour

3 tbsp double cream

50g glace cherries, roughly chopped

100g flaked almonds

50g mixed peel

100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)

Preheat the oven to 190. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.  Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan and then stir in the flour and add the cream slowly.  Bring to the boil, stirring, until it thickens slightly and comes away from the sides of the pan.  Take off the heat and now add in the cherries, almonds and mixed peel.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking sheets (or into the bases of a muffin tray).  Bake for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.  Allow to cool slightly and then remove from the baking sheets or muffin tray and transfer to a wire rack (use a palette knife).  Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Now pick up a Florentine and smooth the underside with the chocolate.  Leave the Florentines to set chocolate side up on a clean sheet of baking parchment.

Serve on a gorgeous tray at a special get together.

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