Posted by: Rachael | February 28, 2008

fruit mince festivities

Our first married Christmas saw us eating local (Polish) gingerbread hearts. By our second Christmas and having been eighteen months away from home we wanted a bit of homely nostalgia. The trusty Edmonds cookbook, which surely can be found in every Kiwi home, had arrived in the post earlier in the year and we had decided to try our hand at fruit mince pies for Christmas. We even thought they would be a great treat to give away to our friends. Being only-just-post-Communist-times there were still food shortages and so we stocked up in advance. A few weeks out when we saw butter, we bought extra. Same for sultanas (which had to fill in for raisins and currants as well) and we couldn’t get almonds either, but figured walnuts wouldn’t be *too* different! We had not seen any lemon peel, so we did the next best thing. Way back at the beginning of the year there was a truck of oranges at the market so we treated ourselves to a couple each. We washed them thoroughly, sliced them up, savoured the flesh, licked up every drop of the juice and saved the skins. We didn’t know how to make it sticky like in the little packets you can buy at the supermarket, but we figured our dried stuff could be rehydrated come Christmas-time. 
And it was. We set it in boiling water and watched it come alive. The smell was like no orange you have ever peeled. That should have been a clue to us. But it wasn’t ;-)
Out came our sturdy cast iron Russian-made mincer we had purchased specially. (Oooooh I just remembered we have a photo of that…let’s see if I can dig it out)

Out came the fruit. Out came the walnuts. Out came the orange peel.
And we started to grind. It looked so authentic. It smelt very citrussy.

That’s because it WAS very citrussy. Our first ever fruit mince pies will always be remembered for their summery citrus zing in the middle of a cold white winter!
In fact, it was so overpowering and left our pies tasting so unlike any we had ever eaten that we couldn’t in good conscience give them to anyone as a celebratory taste of New Zealand!

Sixteen years have passed by and we now have the recipe down to a fine art. We made four of these big jars of the stuff, and twelve batches of pastry…..we’d already sampled them by the time the camera came out, but there are still a few left!Apparently we made 172.

Fruit Mince Mixture:
insert recipe

Pastry:
insert recipe

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