Monday, 5 December 2011

Mini Mince Pies

I think I have resigned myself to the fact I will only be putting weight on between now and January. If I am very lucky, I may maintain my weight, but let's face it, it's Christmas and that ain't gonna happen. It's times like this in the year along with our summer holiday, that I will indulge, guilt free.  But that's ok, because following a plan like WeightWatchers or Slimming World means you can get back on track when the time is right. These sort of plans are a way of living and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

I personally I am not a fan of all these quick fix diets. Yes of course you can drop a stone in a month, but who wants to live off microwave pouches 3 times a day. I've seen them. A cat gets fed more than that! And don't get me started on the fact that alcohol is completely banned. I understand these diets have their place but for me losing and maintaining weight has to be a way of life. It's the reason why I started food blogging in the first place. If you can Eat Healthy But Tasty most of the year, you are perfectly entitled to complete over-indulgence at certain times, and most especially, at Christmas...

I've been dabbling with homemade mince pies for the last couple of years trying out different recipes, including Nigella's ones from her Christmas book (which is one of my favourite books by the way). They were nice, however I never really 'got' what was so special about mince pies. But, my goodness, I never, ever thought I could love this Christmas speciality so much! I am absolutely delighted I have found a combination of winning recipes, that for me have produced the perfect mini mince pie. 

If you want to stick to your WeightWatchers plan during this period, these mere morsels are just 3 ProPoints, so one is definitely not out of the question. The 4 that I have eaten today though should not be recommended if you want to lose weight!

For the pastry, I used a recipe from BBC Good Food. If you read the reviews on this 'Unbelievably Easy Mince Pie', (and I always do, which is why I rave about this website so much) people have said it's amazing, but: it's too dry, they needed to add egg or found the pastry sticks to the tin. I followed the recipe to the T and it worked perfectly!. To make mini ones use a tart tin and not a muffin tin. I dug out my Pampered Chef mini muffin tin & tart shaper and took great joy in using this fabulous piece of kitchen kit.

The pastry works well rolled out too. Just choose an appropriate size cutter that will roughly make 30-36 mince pies. I made 34 from the pastry batch recipe.  I weighed out each ball of pastry to 18g each and used the tart shaper to produce a perfect shape tart. I then rolled out the remaining pastry and cut stars to go on top.

You can use any shop bought mincemeat of your choice, but I followed a recipe from the wonderful Kate at Turquoise Lemons. I particularly like this Mincemeat recipe as it is 'fat free' (no suet) and packed full of flavour. You just need to drop a teaspoon into the case and top with the star. I did do as the recipe said which was to lightly brushed with a beaten egg.

Into the oven they went (160c fan) for about 10 minutes. They were just starting to brown so I guessed they were probably ready. I let them cool in the tin for 5 minutes and the removed them using a teaspoon onto a wire rack.

They are seriously good. Especially with a dollop of thick brandy cream. Nom nom...

WeightWatchers ProPoints Per Mince Pie: 3