IMG_0888Every year, around mid December, Ruby becomes an important part of our family life. I have never met her, in fact, I have no idea who she was.

Two things I do know though. The first is that she was a good friend of my grandmother’s. The second thing is that she was an excellent cook.

My grandmother too, was a good cook and had one of those delightful recipe books – you know the kind…. hand written pages, spattered with cryptic stains made by ingredients long used and gone.  Notes to remember someone’s birthday, and a random shopping list that never made it to the store, tucked in between the Rice Pudding and the Baked Custard. I don’t know what happened to that book, but I did get some recipes out of it many years ago.

Robertson's fruit mince makes wonderful pies

Robertson’s fruit mince makes wonderful pies

One was a favourite, and has been used every Christmas in our family since I can remember – Ruby’s mince pie pastry. It is a sweet pastry and is used with fruit mince. My gran was the first to set the seasonal tradition of having mince pies, then my mother took over and my children have known no Christmas without them!

A batch of hurriedly made pies (I am not a patient cook!0

A batch of hurriedly made pies (Christmas always seems to be a time of rushing from one thing to another!)

Originally intended to have a generous shortbread crust, I have changed the way I make them to make the pastry go further (out of necessity!), and ours now have thinner crust and more fruit mince (both very delicious!).

For anyone who has tried the bought fruit mince pies and did not like them, perhaps you should try some of these. The recipe is easy:

  • 125g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250g flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • milk
  1. Cream butter, sugar and egg.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder
  3. Combine in a mixer. If too stiff, add a little milk. 
  4. Make individual pies using fruit mince. Attach the lids with a little milk.
  5. When pies are made, brush the tops with some extra beaten egg, and bake for 12 mins of 190°C.
  6. Once cool, dust with a sprinkling of icing sugar or castor sugar if you prefer.

The pastry can be kept for a day or two in the fridge, unless milk is used, then it must be used once it is made.

Now you too, can have Ruby as part of your Christmas tradition too! Enjoy 🙂

By the way, I have been asked for a ‘recipe’ for making gluten free flour and baking powder. Does anyone have such a thing that works really well? Thanks in advance!

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11 Responses to Ruby

  1. Attractive presentation and sound yummy. ❤


    • Madoqua says:

      Thanks! I am always in a rush in the kitchen in December. Unlike you folk in the north, who sensibly have summer and Christmas at different times; here the vegetable garden produces heaps and the fruit trees are loaded, so lots of preserving and drying gets done. Then Christmas happens in the middle of it all!
      Happily my family like salads and cold meats on Christmas Day!


      • I cannot imagine harvest, Christmas and canning. 🙂


        • Madoqua says:

          😆 I have a lot of feathered friends who ‘encourage’ me to get organised! If I dither about harvesting and bottling, they ‘help’ by eating every morsel on the tree!
          I am helped by a wonderful recipe technique which uses nothing but the bottles, fruit and a microwave oven to preserve cherries and apricots. No sticky sugar, no preserving pans…


          • Your technique sounds curious. Might you share? No, I’m not doing fruit, just want to know. Might share if the subject comes up when talking recipes and I’ll tell where the recipe came from and you’ll be famous. 😀


          • Madoqua says:

            Absolutely. I will put up a post on the method, but also a reference to the lady who developed the technique. I first found out about how she bottles things (and she makes jams, jellies, chutneys etc as well) about 20 years ago. I have bottled so much fruit since then and also kept the family in sauces and relishes with sometimes different recipes, but using the same technique.


  2. Colline says:

    The mince pies do look good. I enjoy eating them though I have never tried making them.


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