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Christmas Mince Pies

December 15, 2013

Feliz Navisandwich amigos! Christmas is nearly upon us. Trees are being decorated. Presents are being wrapped. Playlists of bad Christmas music are being curated. There’s just so much to be done.

But amid all the hustle and bustle of this festive season, let us not forget the *true* meaning of Christmas. Which is of course, food. Lots of food. Weird food we wouldn’t normally eat at any other time of the year. Food which it’s high time was turned into DELICIOUS FESTIVE TOASTIES.

First in our series of Festive Toasties, are the traditional Christmas Mince Pies. Traditional, yet always contentious. Some people love them, some hate them. Personally I love them…but then I wouldn’t exactly use myself as an example of good taste.

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In case any of our readers are unfamiliar with this particular Christmas delicacy, I think it’s important to clarify at this point that these pies contain fruit mince, not mince mince. Though apparently in Ye Olden Days they originally contained both. However they were quite short on toastie makers back then, so I don’t think there were many medieval versions of fruit-mince-mince-mince-toasties to be had.

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This mince pie was handcrafted by Christmas elves in a sparkling magical factory at the North Pole. Which can be handily purchased in packets of six at my local New World.

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Assuming the position for sandwichification. Which is probably as painful as it sounds.

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During the toasting procedure. Nothing interesting is happening here, though it does smell nice and spicy.

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After toasting, we have some festive innards to gaze lovingly upon. There’s some kind of vaguely geometric pattern that has occurred with the pastry. It’s almost Art Deco in fact. Fancy.

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And the cross-section. Layers of bread, pastry, and squished raisins which look like they’re trying to escape.

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After all that though, the taste was sadly unremarkable. Adding two layers of bread to a pastry shell really didn’t improve it (weird, I know). I tried a few bites but it just wasn’t worth pursuing.

However, as I looked at the abandoned toastie I had a sudden flash of inspiration.

FIRE.

And BOOZE.

Just like pouring brandy over a Christmas pudding and setting it alight, this toastie needs to be flambeed!

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I grabbed some matches, doused the toastie in a healthy swig of brandy, and set it alight.

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Er.

Now, the problem with some Christmas traditions is that they just don’t really translate that well in the Southern Hemisphere. The days here are long and bright and sunny, so anything that relies on a) conveying a sense of warmth to combat wintery chills, and b) light to brighten the long dark nights, doesn’t come off that well.

So setting fire to something in the middle of a summer’s day in a bright kitchen and then trying to capture it on camera, isn’t a particularly effective plan of attack.

I can assure you though, the toastie did catch light and the flames flickered just long enough to ignite my fervent hopes and dreams. So while the photo above may look like nothing special is happening, there was in fact a blaze afoot. Below I have indicated where those flames are, using my masterful Paint skills.

*warms hands over the photo*

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OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING:

Toastability: 5/5.

An excellent toasting substance. No mess to clean up afterwards, plus you get to set fire to the thing. What’s not to like?!

Taste: 2/5 – unflambeed; 5/5 – flambeed.

The fire and brandy mix worked like a Christmas miracle! I was quite astonished at the effect it had on the toastie, turning it from drab to fab in no time. The brandy added a bit of moisture and depth of flavour to the toastie, and it really did turn out to be quite delicious. Perhaps more experiments using alcoholic ingredients are called for?

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