If you’re thinking about baking mince pies this Christmas (you’ll find my clementine and mincemeat cakey pie recipe here), we should really spare a thought for all those mincemeat haters. When you’re popping your pies in the oven, leave a couple of the pastry shells empty (or indeed just make a whole batch of shells), scrunch up a square of greaseproof paper and pop in a handful of baking beans.
When you take your mince pies out of the oven you’ll have a few extra shells ready to fill with something non-mincemeaty. For a festive option, why not try making my cranberry and clementine curd? Double the quantity and buy some nice clip-top jars (I got mine from jarsandbottles-store.co.uk) and it makes a fabulous gift too.
You will need:
300g pack fresh or frozen cranberries
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs plus 1 extra yolk
Put the whole pack of cranberries into a saucepan. Peel a couple of big strips of zest off each of the clementines and add that in too, then squeeze them and pour in the juice. Bring the mixture to the boil, then allow it to gently simmer for about five minutes or until the cranberries are soft.
Take it off the heat and pour it into a sieve over a bowl. Give the mixture a good squish to get as much juice out as possible, then measure the juice back into the saucepan. You need 6 tablespoons of juice – if you don’t have enough, add a bit more clementine or lime juice.
Add in the butter and caster sugar and stir gently on a low heat until the butter is all melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, in a clean bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until well combined (if you’re being restauranty here, you can sift the egg to remove any lumps of white).
Take the juice/butter mixture and gently pour a little bit into the egg, whisking all the time, then a bit more, then a bit more, until you’ve combined about half of it with the eggs.
Pop that lot back into the saucepan and keep whisking and gently cooking until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. If it’s really not going to thicken, you can help it along by popping in another egg yolk and whisking again until it does. Remember it will continue to thicken as it cools.
If you’re potting it up, make sure your jars are sterilised (good sterilising advice from my friend Mammy’s Kitchen right here), but if you’re using it straight away, or pouring it into a tart case, let it cool a bit, remembering to stir it occasionally to keep it from getting a skin on. When it’s about room temperature, pour it into the pastry case and pop into the fridge to cool.
A sealed jar will keep for a good few weeks in the fridge, but opened jars should be eaten within about a week.