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Wishing you the joys of the season.

As we pause from the hustle and bustle to spend time with family and friends, and we hope this year you create memories with loved ones.

Growing up in England, my favorite memories are making mince pies with my family. Gathered around the table we would make the dough, the smell of the dried fruits, with cinnamon and cloves, helping to make the small pies all meant Christmas to me. What has stuck with me all these years was the anticipation of the delicious treats, that were only around at Christmas time but mainly the laughter and sharing of family stories, and creating memories that have lasted my whole life,

When I think about the holidays, it's not the presents, or the decorations that stick with me, but the memories. I wish for you and your family a holiday season that is filled with memories.

If you have never had a mince pie, maybe you'll add it to your family memories this year.

Here is a little history of the mince pie from Wikipedia..

A mince pie is a fruit-based mincemeat sweet pie of British origin that is traditionally served during the Christmas season. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.

The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with supposed Catholic "idolatry" and during the English Civil War was frowned on by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pie in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.

From the BBC Good Food website here is an easy mince pie recipe... with some interpretations for those of you not use to British measurements.

So whatever your Holiday plans are we wish you a happy healthy end to 2015!

Mince Pie

Ingredients

  • 300g dried mixed fruit (about a cup and half)
  • 200g apricot jam (about 5/8 cup)
  • 25ml brandy (slightly less than one ounce)

For the pastry

  • 200g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 100g butter cut into cubes (7 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg yolk

For the crunchy crumble

  • 100g plain flour (3/4 cup)
  • 25g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting (also called Powdered Sugar 1/5 a cup)
  • 50g butter, cut into cubes (3 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 50g whole almond roughly chopped (about 3/8 cup)
  1. Put the dried fruit and jam in a small pan, heat until melted together, then stir in the brandy and cool. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 or 390F.
  2. For the pastry, set aside 2 tbsp flour and put the rest plus the butter in a food processor. Whizz until there are no lumps of butter. Pulse in the egg yolk, followed by a tbsp of water at a time, until the dough comes together – you'll probably need 2 tbsp. (If you don't have a food processor, rub butter into the flour with your fingers, then stir in the yolk and water with a round-bladed knife.) Use the reserved flour to roll out the pastry to just over the thickness of a £1 coin (about a nickel for the yanks). Stamp circles with an 8cm cutter and press into holes of a bun tin ( a mini muffin pan works well for these) – you should get 15 from re-rolling the trimmings.
  3. Divide the fruit amongst the pies, then bake for 5 mins while you rub together all the crumble ingredients with your fingers. Top each pie with crumble, then return to the oven for 15 mins until pastry and crumble are golden. Eat warm or cold dusted with icing sugar.
CMP