Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pretty Meringue Decorations

Being a huge foodie, I hang edible treats on my Christmas tree every year and this year I decided to make some meringue circles. I must admit however that they only lasted the day and every single one of them was eaten before lights out. Nevertheless they are great fun to make with little ones and they look so pretty. You can make them whatever colour you like by adding your preferred food colouring to the finished meringue mixture, I chose pink as I'm super girly.

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 220g caster sugar
  • Red food colouring
  • Pretty ribbon for hanging

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees
  2. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in a food mixer with the whisk attachment
  3. Whisk the eggs for 5 minutes, on medium speed.
  4. Add the sugar little by little, increase the speed of the whisk and continue to whisk for 8-10 minutes, until you have stiff peaks.
  5. Whisking slowly, add the colouring until you have reached the desired  colour.
  6. Put the meringue into a piping bag.
  7. Pipe out thick circles onto baking trays lined with baking paper.
  8. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 25 minutes
  9. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. Using a ribbon hang the meringues on your Christmas tree. Keep them away from the fairy lights if you can as the heat can melt the meringues.

Easy Peasy Mince Pies

I don't have a lot of time these days for baking and blogging, but these mince pies are all about the short cuts and are a doddle to make, so easy I just had to share the recipe. I'm a self proclaimed lover of store bought pastry, it makes everything so quick and easy.

 These pies are made using store bought pastry, but good quality pastry. The mince pie filling is also straight from a jar, but I'm using a luxury brand. Basically I'm all about the shortcuts once the very best store bought items are used. There then is nothing stopping you pimping up store bought ingredients. For example here I jazz up the mince filling with some clementine zest and chopped apple.

So on first glance of the pies you think 'oh I don't have the time to make those'; but read on and see how easy it is to make your own.

Makes 9 mince pies


  • 1 ready rolled premium quality shortcrust pastry
  • 1 jar of luxury mincemeat
  • 1/2 an apple, diced
  • Zest of 1 clementine 
  • 1 tbsp of milk
  • Butter, for greasing muffin tray
  • Icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease a muffin tin with butter
  2. Empty the mincemeat into a bowl and add the zest and the chopped apple and stir to combine.
  3. Roll out the pastry and using a round pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. 
  4. With the scraps, re-roll and cut out some star shapes for the top of the pies.
  5. Place the pastry circles in the muffin holes and add the mincemeat filling. Do not be tempted to overfill them as they will burst and overflow when baked.
  6. Top each pie with the cut out pastry stars. Brush the stars with a little milk.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they are bubbling and golden brown.
  8. Cool in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing from the rack and allowing to cool completely.
  9. Dust liberally with icing sugar and hey presto.

If you are visiting over the festive season, these are the prefect gift to bring your friends and family. Everyone loves homemade gift, especially ones that look like you were slaving in the kitchen for hours making. They need never know how easy and quick they were.

In a make ahead tip, you can freeze the pies in the muffin tray unbaked (covered with cling). Then just defrost overnight in the fridge before baking them.

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