Monday, 22 December 2014

Mince pie and custard cupcakes

Christmas really is fast approaching and I am already in residence on my parents’ sofa, drinking copious amounts of tea/mulled cider/champagne and scoffing chocolates/biscuits/mince pies. And lets face it Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a good mince pie. I actually indulged in my first of the season back at the beginning of December after a visit to Betty’s in York, and it was deliciously light and full of festive flavour. Feeling that it may be hard to beat I decided to follow in the tradition of previous years (when I used mincemeat in Danish pastries and cookies) and came up with a slightly alternative Christmas treat. When deciding on what to do with the stash of mincemeat in the cupboards I was inspired by the obvious accompaniment of custard….and so the mince pie and custard cupcake was born.

For the cake
200g caster sugar
225g butter
200g plain flour
3 tablespoons custard powder
Seeds from half a vanilla pod
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
½ jar (approx. 200g) mincemeat (or you could make your own!!)
For the icing
 200g icing sugar
3 tablespoons custard powder
1 tablespoon skimmed milk powder
200ml double cream
300 ml milk
Seeds from half a vanilla pod
50g butter

For the cakes set the oven to 180°C / 350°F / GM4. Line a cup cake tin with cupcake cases (this recipe makes approx. 15 medium sized cupcakes).

Beat the caster sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs and the vanilla seeds. Finally gradually fold in all of the dry ingredients until well combined. If the mixture seems a little dry and stiff at this point stir in the milk.

Divide half of the mixture between the prepared cake cases. Then take the mincemeat and dollop a teaspoon full into the cake cases, on top of the sponge mixture already in the tins. 

Finally top the mincemeat with the remaining cake mixture so that the mincemeat is covered by cake mixture.

Transfer the cakes to the oven for twenty minutes until lightly golden in colour and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before icing.

In the mean time you can make the icing…mix half of the icing sugar with the custard powder, milk powder, vanilla seeds and 2 tablespoons of the milk in a heatproof jug. Stir together to make a smooth, thick paste.

Meanwhile heat the remaining milk and cream together in a large saucepan and place over a gentle heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and pour the warm milk mixture into the jug, whisking as you do so until the custard paste in fully mixed into the milk.

Then pour the custard back into the pan and return to the heat. Continue whisking until the custard becomes thick and glossy. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plastic tub and cover the top with a layer on cling film. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool completely.

Once cool remove the custard mix from the fridge. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining icing sugar and butter and whisk until thick and creamy. And now the custard icing is ready to use to decorate your cakes.

Once the cakes have been piped/smothered in icing tuck in and enjoy as an alternative to your usual mince pie.

This recipe was inspired by this cake from Nigella Lawson and this cake from BBC Good Food.