Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Foodie Friday Plus The Novel Bakers' Christmas Goodies

Welcome to Foodie Friday.. a bit early this week.
Since Monday, I've been playing with The Novel Bakers (you'll find links at the end of this post) and Nigella Lawson, so this is my finale: a slob's speedy version of her impeccable recipes.

We've been eating way too many desserts at our house, but I wanted to try Nigella's
Star-Topped Mince Pies. According to her, "They are small, to be popped straight into
the mouth in one go."

Predictably, I ran into trouble. Technical trouble.
Between bottomless cupcake tins and too-little pie dough, I was forced to put a desperate spin on the pies. I cut the dough to fit my fire engine red ramekins--more than a mouthful, to be sure. Even so, I found myself with leftover mincemeat and dough.
What to do?

I made mincemeat hand pies, of course. My snowflake toppers look like the handles on my
kitchen faucet ...
... sort of old-timey, but edible.

I haven't seen the sun in weeks, and when it popped out, I went a little nuts and took
way too many photos.

Mincemeat Hand Pies
                                                 Serves: 4
Pillsbury Refrigerated pie dough
Cookie cutters
milk wash
granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (My oven smokes and carries on if I bake above 400 degrees, so
feel free to adjust the temperature and baking time). Cut dough into circles (I used a hand pie shaper from Williams Sonoma). Crimp edges with a fork. Using leftover dough, cut out decorative garnishes.
Brush garnishes and tops of the pies with milk wash, then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 20 -25 minutes or until pies are nicely browned.

 Here are the mini pies. With the leftover dough, I made extra stars, which Bandy and I
scarfed down in minutes.

Mini-Mincemeat Pies (the Slacker's Version)
                                                       Serves 4
1 jar mincemeat
2 boxes of Pillsbury's Pie Dough (refrigerated)
Confectioners' sugar (and a dusting sieve)
3 T milk or heavy cream
granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Spray the ramekins with Pam. Roll out the dough and cut into large circles, at least 2" larger than the ramekins. Add dough and crimp edges. Spoon in the mincemeat. Shape the leftover dough into a ball, roll out, and cut into stars. Place stars on top of each mini pie. Brush the stars with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet, place in oven, and bake 15-20 minutes (or until the stars have browned). Remove from oven and cool.

Nigella Week ended far too soon for me, but the feast will continue with my friends Jain and Mary (you'll find the links below). I still have many recipes on my to-do list. Topping the list is Hot Schnocolate, which calls for peppermint schnapps, heavy cream candy canes, and bittersweet chocolate. Here's Nigella's version:
Novel Baker Mary at Home Is Where the Boat Is   made individual jars of Candy Cane Cocoa, perfect for gifts--wait until you hear where she found her darling snowflake jars.

Christmas is the season for thick, liquor-infused beverages. As my 85 year old mother says, "A wee tot of something at the end of a hard day can flat out revive you."
Eggnog Syllabub is on my to-do list. According to Nigella, this libation is "the holiday tradition Stateside; and you could hardly get more quintessentially English than a syllabub."
This tipsy version carries a comic warning: "You can certainly taste the trio of tipples (bourbon, dark rum, and brandy), but you don't feel as if you should avoid stepping near a naked flame after eating it."
My store-bought version was ramped up with Mr. Jack Daniels and brandy, with a dusting of chocolate.

Nigella Christmas is one of my favorite holiday cookbooks. It has many virtues, so many I can't list them. She divides the book into 9 chapters, including Stress Free Suppers, Edible Presents, A Bevy of Hot Drinks, and Dr. Lawson Prescribes (two healing soups). In between, she offers sensible advice, such as a sure-fire way to induce harmony at volatile family dinners (just invite strangers, and family outbursts might diminish or even disappear...temporarily).  She includes edible ornaments, gift wrapping ideas, and tablescapes. Your local library should have a copy of the book--or they can locate one.

Here's Nigella's Christmas Chutney.

Novel Baker Jain at a quiet life tweaked the recipe. It looks like a bottled jewel. Today, she presented Honeyed Fig Vinegar, Pomegranate-and Red Onion Relish.

I hope you've enjoyed my nearly Nigella recipes this week.

 For more Christmas cheer and a great time, please visit my dear, fellow Novel Bakers.
You'll find recipes, ideas, and gorgeous photos to "pin." Be sure to check in with
Jain and Mary on Friday: Nigella Week continues. You will be charmed!

The Novel Bakers:
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope everyone is warm, well-fed, happy, and healthy.
May all of your dreams come true this Christmas.

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  1. Oh your star-studded mincemeat pies look perfect and so festive in your red ramekins and with a raspberry on top! Perfect and delicious for the busy holiday season! Love your ingenuity in making hand pies with your leftover filling and pie dough. I need some reviving right about now, so I think I'll follow in your mother's footsteps and have a wee tot :) Wishing you the Merriest of Christmases and hope 2014 is a healthy one for your family!

  2. I just love your Mini Mincemeat Pies, they look adorable with the little star on top. My Grandmother always made a Mincemeat Pie at Christmas, sweet memories. I know what you mean about the sun, it was so nice to see it for a bit today. Have a cozy weekend and thanks for a beautiful post and a great party!
    Miz Helen

  3. I haven't had a mincemeat pie since my grandma passed away over 20 years ago. I was just talking to my mom about mincemeat and we both agreed we miss it. I ordered the Nigella cookbook from the library and I'll be making these cutie pies :-) Thank you for hosting Foodie Friday!

  4. I love your take on Nigella's mincemeat pies - those hand pies are wonderful! Gorgeous, mouthwatering photographs as always! Thank you for hosting :-)

  5. I'm back for another taste of your Mincemeat Pies but I came for the hand pie version this morning complete with reindeer ears! I need a shot of in my coffee this morning to get me going :)

  6. I adore Nigella. The descriptions and comments she adds to all of her recipes are one of the best parts for me. Love the eggnog warning.

  7. Linking for Jain this morning, she's without internet service!

  8. Your Mini Mincement pies are precious. Mr. Jack and his friend Brandy are always welcome in my cooking. I think the slacker version is perfect for me. Thanks for hosting and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  9. What a beautiful post, I love it Michael! Nigella's C'mas book sounds wonderful, I love her and see her on TV often. Adorable mincemeat pies, sweet friend. Thank you so much for my fav Food Party. Merry C'mas.

  10. Oh my, I just read about your family member illness. I will send prayers that way and hopefully for a promp recovery!

  11. yippee i am back, and you KNOW how much i love your decorated hand held pies, i think its the cutest thing ever and i have been known to copy you :-) the ramekins are wonderful too, so very festive with such darling photos.

    so cracking up...

    "A wee tot of something at the end of a hard day can flat out revive you."

    unfortunately i do it ALL DAY LONG LIKE A REVIVAL MEETING!

    your nog looks fabulous!

    love all your wonderful photos, i know you have so much going on this week, thanks so much for carving out time for us, our thoughts and prayers will be for a happy healthy family for you all this season, off to find a wee tot of something...

  12. I love all your versions, they all look delightful! And give me the Slacker's Version any ole time! Poor Nigella, I bet she could use a wee tot at the end of the day these days, or a triple tipple! Everything you Novel Bakers come up with is beautiful, amazing and put so much work, heart and soul into these posts and it is a special treat everytime!
    Thank you so much!

  13. Thank you so much for hosting. A really lovely and festive presentation. Nigella would be proud.

  14. The ramekin version is so pretty, Michael Lee, but the slacker version is so adorable, too. I hope everyone is recuperating around your home. Thank you for hosting your wonderful party. xxoo

  15. Beautiful and so festive! Thanks for hosting!

  16. So many delicious looking baked goodies! Yum!
    Thank you for the gathering, Michael!

  17. Looks like you've been busy Michael! Your star topped pies are so cute and I love that very last pic:@)

  18. Your little ramekins are so cute! It sounds like Nigella's Christmas needs to be a Christmas present to myself!

  19. Love your photographs, just beautiful! thanks for hosting, have a wonderful weekend!