Mince pie recipe reviews: Delia vs BBC Good Food

shortcrust pastry recipe Now this isn’t the strictest of tests because my boyfriend made the first batch of mince pies last week and I made the second batch last night. We put to the test this BBC Good Food recipe and the tried and tested Delia Smith recipe from her famous cookery book. Both of us were unarmed with a rolling pin but last night I had a wine bottle spare so wrapped it in cling film to roll out the pastry nice and thin.

The main difference between these mince pies is the pastry – the Good Food one uses a sweet pastry but it did lack structure and actually rose and bubbled a bit (looking back this could be because the beaten egg was missing from the pastry). Delia’s recipe uses shortcrust pastry and this was much flakier but with a decent structure. Although the Good Food ones were crumbly, they tasted delicious but perhaps too sweet with the mincemeat. The Delia pastry didn’t have any sugar in it so I’d say the balance was a little better.

The only comment my boyfriend made about the mince pies I baked was that they were very small! He just ate a larger quantity to make up for the mini mince pies though and they seemed to go down well with my temporary housemate too! The Delia recipe says to use 3 and 2.5 inch cutters but I’d actually suggest making these with 4 and 3 inch cutters instead. Do you have a tried and tested recipe which you bring out each year? If so, let me know!

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Postcard from Italy – breakfasts and bread fatigue

Italian breakfast in MateraI have recently returned from a fabulous holiday in Southern Italy visiting Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, World Heritage site Matera and trendy university town Lecce. I thought I would share a few of my sugary breakfast experiences. This is a pic of the delicious breakfast I feasted on, hosted in the limestone cave of our hotel in the Sassi region of Matera. Starting with fresh watermelon, I ate yummy pastries filled with custard, jam and chocolate (if I got there early enough). This was all washed down with blood red orange juice. And if that wasn’t enough, I could nibble on foccacia bread with sun blushed tomatoes!

Our first breakfast experience was possibly the best and most authentic of the trip though. We flew into Naples late at night and the next morning grabbed some breakfast before the journey to Sorrento. We popped into a patisserie with rows upon rows of fresh pastries. I literally didn’t know what to choose! In the end my friend chose the best chocolate croissant I have ever tasted and I plumped for a pastry which was similar to a French palmier. Warmed up, the chocolate croissant was a river of milk hazelnut chocolate inside – i was a gooey mess! Trying my first Italian macchiato and my best chocolate croissant I was in heaven! Must admit though, by the end of the trip I had eaten more bread in ten days than I would normally do in six months. It was all delicious but I was glad to get back to my cereal for breakfast! I would definitely recommend a visit to Southern Italy, and Matera and Lecce were very authentic, hardly any tourists to be seen. Let me know if you need any hotel recommendations!

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