20 December 2019

MINCE PIE BROWNIES

Mincemeat, a lovely, fragrant mix of dried fruit, citrus peel, and brandy, just smells and tastes like Christmas. Other than the classic, beloved mince pies, it can be used in a variety of other desserts, with the same delicious results. These brownies being one of the quickest desserts you can make.
Fudge brownies, embellished with a traditional filling, on top of a flaky, buttery pie crust. Colourful dried fruit, a speck of vanilla, some spices, and a splash of good brandy make these mince pie brownies a true delight. A lovely little Christmas treat, best served with a cup of hot coffee.


Ingredients
For the pie crust
120 grams plain flour
50 grams icing sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
75 grams butter, cold
20 ml Vodka, ice-cold
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the mincemeat brownies
50 grams dried apricots
50 grams raisins
50 grams chopped almonds, optional
50 grams mixed candied peel
50 ml brandy
100 grams dark chocolate
100 grams icing sugar
120 grams unsweetened applesauce
120 grams vanilla yoghurt
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100 grams plain flour
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon mixed spice
½ level teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation
To make the crust, sift the flour, icing sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, and add in the diced butter and cut it into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in the vanilla and the Vodka, and form a dough that is soft, but not sticky. Place it into a bowl, cover with cling film, and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While the pie dough is being chilled, chop up the dried fruit and the candied peel, and soak it in brandy for 30 minutes or so. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate for the brownies, add in the icing sugar and the applesauce, and mix well. When the chocolate is slightly cooler, add in the yoghurt, orange and lemon zest, as well as vanilla bean paste, and mix very well. Add in the dried fruit and any remaining brandy, and mix again. Finally, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and the spices, and gently fold everything though.
When the dough is ready, take a small, square baking pan (18x18 cm) with a removable bottom, and line it with baking parchment. Place the pie dough in the centre, and gently roll it out evenly to fill the bottom of the pan, and bake, in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 10 minutes, until it is puffed up and starting to turn golden. Once baked, let it cool down enough to stop bubbling, and then pour in the brownie batter, and bake, at the same temperature, for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness around the 20-minute mark so they do not overbake and become dry. Once baked, let it cool down to your liking, slice it up, and serve. Yields 16 servings.
Baker's note: These can be served slightly frozen, too; the pie base will not freeze solid.

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