Every 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.
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!
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
- Cream butter, sugar and egg.
- Sift together flour, baking powder
- Combine in a mixer. If too stiff, add a little milk.
- Make individual pies using fruit mince. Attach the lids with a little milk.
- When pies are made, brush the tops with some extra beaten egg, and bake for 12 mins of 190°C.
- 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!