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Christmas pudding and mince pies with Oliver Dunne

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Oliver is in to bake some mouth watering mince pies and puddings today.

Oliver Dunne - Head chef at Bon Appetit
Born in 1977 and raised on Dublin's Northside, Oliver Dunne has spent his career surrounded by award winning chefs - Conrad Gallagher, Gary Rhodes and Gordon Ramsay to name but a few. After taking over the helm of Bon Appetit in 2006, Oliver was awarded his own Michelin Star in January 2008.

The History of the Mince Pie

The mince pie goes back hundreds of years - England's King Henry V was a great fan of them and was served a mincemeat pie at his coronation in 1413.

Originally the mince pie did contain meat - mincemeat was a way of preserving meat by mixing it with fruit, spices and alcohol. The initial mince pies were large rather than bite size. It is sometimes said that the large pies were cooked in an oblong dish and that the top often used to cave in. As a result the mince pie looked a little like a crib, in keeping with the Christian nativity story.

Over time the amount of meat in mincemeat was gradually reduced until it became the fruit only substance we know today. In addition, the pies became smaller. Apparently they were sometimes called "wayfarers' pies" because they were given to visitors over the Christmas period.

Taken from

Mince Pies
Sweet Paste Ingredients
. 1kg flour
. 500g butter
. 5 eggs
. yolk
. 300g icing sugar
. 15g salt

Mincemeat Ingredients
. 100g raisins, sultanas, currents and apricots
. 3 small apples
. 1tsp cinnamon and nutmeg
. 2tbls dark brown sugar
. 2tbls rum and brandy

1. For the sweet paste cream the butter and eggs together, then add all the dry ingredients and kneed to dough. Leave to rest in the fridge for one hour before rolling.
2. For the mincemeat put the raisins, sultanas, currents and apricots and blend in a food processor for 10 seconds.
3. Coarsely grate the apples and add them to the dried fruit along with the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and alcohol.
4. Blend again for another 20 seconds.
5. Roll the sweet paste to approximately 3mm thick and line the inside of the pie casing. Spoon in the mincemeat mixture and cover with another peace of sweet paste and bake for 190c for 15mins

History of the Christmas Pudding:

Christmas puddings originated as a fourteenth century 'porridge' called frumenty. They were made of cereal, breadcrumbs, mutton and beef with raisins, wines, prunes, currants and spices. they were stuffed in sausage skins, enclosed in a pastry and baked. It was eaten as a fasting dish before the Chrismas festivities.
By 1595, the frumenty was replaced by a plum pudding with eggs, breadcrumds, dried fruits and flavoured with spirits and ale.
It became the Christmas desserts but it was banned in 1664 by the Puritans.

George I re-established it as part of Christmas in 1714.
By Victorian times, the Christmas puddings became similar to the ones enjoyed today.

Many superstitions have surrounded the Christmas Pudding:
. The traditional time for making a Christmas pudding is on Stir Up Sunday which is the 25th Sunday after Trinity.
. Is should be made with 13 ingredients to represent the Christ and His Disciples.
. It should always be stirred with a wooden spoon from east to west in honor to the Three Kings.
. Every member of the family should take a turn at stirring while making a wish.

Christmas Puddings

Makes 1 x 2lb pudding

. 75g Flour
. ?tsp Baking powder
. 75g breadcrumbs
. 75g dried suet
. 35g ground almonds
. 180g muscovado sugar
. 1/3tsp mixed spice
. Pinch cinnamon and nutmeg
. 60g stoned prunes
. 60g grated carrot
. 250g mixed currents, sultanas and raisins
. 20g mixed peel
. small apple grated
. orange and lemon juiced and zest
. eggs
. 50ml rum
. 1tbls treacle/golden syrup
. 100ml stout

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, breadcrumbs, suet, ground almonds, sugar and spices together.
2. Chop the prunes and mix with the currents, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel, grated apples, orange and lemon zest in a separate bowl.
3. Beat the eggs and add to the orange and lemon juice, rum, treacle, golden syrup and stout.

4. The pudding ingredients can now be totally mixed together now and should be a wet loose consistency if it feels to dry then add more stout.
5. Leave covered in the fridge for 2 days. Then fill your 2lb pudding basin and steam for 4 hours topping up with boiling water when necessary.