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Best ready roll pastry for mince pies - help please


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I cannot make pastry - never been successful.

This year haven't been able to order any mince pies so I'm having to bake my own.

Here's problem and need help.   I've seen the ready to roll pastries.

What is the difference between the Sable, the Brise, and a Dutch one named 'Pates a Flammekueche' - (tartes fines).

I loved the flaky and puff pastry mince pies that we could get in the UK.   Is there a similar flaky or puff pastry out here - and if so what should I look for ?

What is the UK equivalent of  -

the Sable

the Sucre

and all the others.

Definitive list might be useful - and 'pinned' at the top of this section to help ignoramuses like myself, who haven't got a clue about the various types of ready-to-roll pastries that are available.

Can anyone who is in the know recommend the best one to use for mince pies?  

OH is rather wary of this idea;  previous attempts at pastry making have been disappointing, although he does put on a brave face when my pastry attempts are put on the plate !!

Thanks for any help - Chessie

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Pate feuilletée is easily available in France, I used to like the pur beurre from Casino. You'll need a very hot oven, certainly 200°c maybe a little hotter to bake. Also this pastry doesn't keep, and have lost it's deliciousness by the next day.

Otherwise I would use pate brisé as that does stay nicer longer.

If you haven't tried the mascapone pastry recipe, would you care to try it? It can even be made up in a mixer, fool proof really. I don't think it matters if you are heavy handed with it, it is forgiving and I think it is delicious.

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I have not succeed in finding blocks of pastry-most of that found in supermarkets appears to be in rounds about 30cm across -not much good for cutting out small rounds for mince pies as there is a lot of wastage and I find it doesn'tcome together well after cutting some out so you cab re-roll it ( hope that makes sense!). Sable is a shortcrust, sucre is a sweet pastry. Feuilletee is a flaky type pastry but not like in the UK. Try googling Delia Smith's recipe for Quick Flaky Pastry-it's made by grating frozen hard margerine so no rubbing in ot Rick Stein has a recipe for sweet pastry like thst used in french tarts which is very good - it's in his French Odyssey cook book and is very easy.
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Pate feuilletee is puff pastry and IMO usually better than the bought stuff in the UK. I have used the ordinary stuff, but I prefer butter puff pastry in either country, and I still think that the french stuff is better.

The blocs can be bought at Picard, frozen, I'm sure that pate a etaler can be bought elsewhere.

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This is getting interesting;  if you can absolutely guarantee the recipes - those that have been mentioned - then let's have them.

As for the pate feuilletee I looked at rolls of that in the chiller section at LeClerc and it seemed to be more like the filo pastry - so I was wrong about that, then.  

So if I want to try puff pastry - then it's pate feuilletee - right ?

I'll buy some next time I'm in LeClerc; so with the rolls I've already bought, and the recipes I'm going to try (if they can be guaranteed) - and the test run of the pate feuilletee - I reckon we'll be eating mince pies until Easter.   Or we could have a New Year's Eve Party to get rid of what's not been eaten !!

Oh who loves Christmas....... and all the hard work !!

Thanks everyone - Chessie

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As I said, IMO pate feuilletee is to eat that day. I loathe and detest day old puff pastry, in it's own way as bad as eating a day old baguette.

Also baked they would not freeze well either. Whereas, if you use another pastry like shortcrust which is brisée, or even the mascarpone pastry, then once baked, freeze well and you could get them out au fur et a mesure.

EDIT: Nothing wrong with the rolled out pastry, I just prefer to roll it myself. My neighbour always bought it rolled out.

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Yes the Delia Smith recipe for rough puff pastry is excellent though I use butter and certainly NOT margarine.  However, if you really aren't used to making pastry, I wouldn't start with that one as there is rather a lot of fat in it and you need to be quite quick when rolling it out.

The mascarpone pastry is the one to get you going, IMHO.  I have used it so many times that I now also do it au pif, like Id, who was the one to teach me how to do it!

I made a batch of double quantity last week:  12 ounces plain flour, 6 oz butter and a 250 G tub of mascarpone and out of that I made: 2 cheese and onion quiches, 2 doz sausage meat parcels (eaten in 2 or 3 bites) now in the freezer and half a doz jam tarts.

I only have a very small amount of  mincemeat left so will probably keep the mince pies just for OH who adores them.

BTW, I often have mascarpone in the fridge so that, when I can't think of what else to cook for lunch, I can do quiches or salmon en croute or I quite like to make calzone shaped pastries with the same filling as I would use for tartiflette.

Happy cooking!

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I have made pastry before - just the results aren't very good - and I get down-hearted.

Have always wondered about the Delia recipe - might - just might - be forced to try it this year, just for fun as long as I've got back-up ready to roll pastry or 'fail safe' recipes from you wonderful cooks on here.

I have never heard of the marscapone recipe - sounds just too easy - what's the catch ? !!   I've got the flour, and the butter - rub fat into flour - and then is the marscapone the fluid element - nothing more.   Just pop it all into a food-mixer, whiz and end up with a ball of dough ready to roll ?

If this is successful I'll send you all sample mince-pies !!!

 PS - where did the original marscapone recipe come from - ie which cook ?

Thanks - Chessie

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Yes, you've got it in one!  The mascarpone is the fluid element.

I don't bother using the food-mixer as I like to "do things" with the food...........lol!

In the winter, I do rub the butter in first but in the summer here in the Dordogne, I just put everything into a mixing bowl and mash it all together with a fork and then knead lightly for a couple of minutes.

I am not sure whether the mascarpone pastry isn't one of Idun's own.  SHE'S really the good cook.  I'm sort of middling but I love big, robust flavours and so I have been known to fiddle about and produce something that everyone will have seconds or thirds of..........[:D]

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Yes, but didn't chessie mention that they couldn't do pastry.

I had to plead to get the mascarpone pastry recipe from a friend, where it was apparently a family secret, but they aren't from France or the UK, so as far as they are concerned it is still OK.

It is the high fat content that does it and no other liquid in it. Rub in the butter and then add the mascarpone, then just knead it. It'll take heavy handedness. Once mixed in, roll it out and use. If it isn't to your taste don't do it again.

This is how I used to make my mincemeat mint. Usually I would use suet, but as I couldn't always get it in France, would make it like this.

Two large apples, peeled and cored and very finely chopped. Saute them in a little butter and let them soften and leave to get cold.

Mix the rest together. 200g of each, currents, raisins and sultanas...... ( I usually found these at Intermarché)

a little candied peel or not(I'm not keen)

100grs finely chopped dates.

200g brown sugar

juice and rind of a lemon

I teaspoon Cinnamon

good pinch of nutmeg

if I had any, a good pinch of mixed spice, but sometimes I didn't.

Sometimes I added some crushed nuts too and glace cherries, but not always.

3 tablespoons of rum or brandy

150g of grated butter

Mix the lot together and add the apple and mix and then stir occasionally over 24 hours and then put in a jar.

Doesn't take long and we used to enjoy it.

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Thanks for the mincemeat recipe, id.

I'll deffo make some.  Good recipe for me as OH doesn't eat meat and I wouldn't know where in our small market town I'd find vegetarian suet!!!

I agree about bought pastry when cold; just is sort of rubbery in the mouth and doesn't taste or smell nice[+o(]

If you leave mascarpone pastry products to get cold before putting them away in air-tight containers, they retain their crisp.  If my oven weren't so big and useless, I'd just re-heat gently before serving.

New kitchen in process of being planned (NEW OVEN[:D]).....just waiting for the artisan to come and visit but he's taking rather a long time to come[:(]

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When making mincemeat for gluten intolerant guests, I merely froze a block of butter (same quantity as the suet in recipe below) dipped it in GF flour and grated it - a bit more work that the suet, but worked a treat. So, if you are suetless, you could easily do that.

This is the Mrs Beeton recipe I use/ have adapted - it is the simplest thing to make and repays the short time it takes, over and over.

1lb prepared weight finely chopped or grated apple ( leave skin on)

1lb currants

1lb raisins

half pound sultanas

1lb suet (or butter)

1lb demerara sugar

2oz flaked or chopped almonds

2oz chopped glace cherries

2oz candied peel (if liked)

2oz fruit of choice - I like finely diced dried apricot, could use any dried fruit incl cranberries.

grated rind and juice 2 lemons or (I prefer) mix of orange and lemon

half a nutmeg, grated

quarter teaspoon each ground cloves and cinnamon (optional - I leave out the cinnamon)

eighth teaspoon each ground ginger and ground mace (extra pinch nutmeg if mace not to hand)

half teaspoon salt

Mix all the above in a huge bowl. Add 3/8 pint (220ml) alcohol (or I guess fruit juice?) She says a mix of brandy and rum. I use whatever I fancy, perhaps some cointreau or grand marnier, rum, brandy.

Stir again and fill sterilised jars. Keep for at least 2 weeks to mature. I make it a good year ahead, if I can.

When opened it may be a little dry - add a splash of rum etc and mix! It doesn't want to be wet like the sloppy shop bought stuff but should need coaxing to leave the spoon.

As far as pastry goes - I am going to try the mascapone recipe tomorrow. Normally, I make a sweet shortcrust (8 oz plain flour, 2 ounces lard, 2.5 oz butter, 1.5 ounces sugar and a teaspoon (5ml) water per ounce of dry ingredients, so around 45ml here. For mince pies, though, I use orange juice instead of water - really brings the pastry and filling together, IMHO. This freezes well - I often freeze the mince pies in their raw state and cook them later - put back into the baking tin to defrost - but they do reheat well from cooked, too.

Oh, I think pastry is better cooked on the traditional 'top and bottom' heat setting, rather than fan. Don't know why this is, just my experience!


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Wow, Pouyade, you sound like someone who definitely knows what they are doing [:D]

Thank you for your excellent take on mincemeat.

PLUS, I think you are right about the oven setting.  Pastry seems to shrink less and bakes more evenly.

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Pouyade, your mincemeat recipe looks fine, there are so many and it is what one likes, and for all I am not a cinnamon fan, found that I preferred it with it in. But, I don't think I could make your mince recipe and keep it for a year. I have always read that if the apple isn't cooked then it ferments, does it?  And would I leave uncooked butter in a mix for a year. I

don't think that I'd risk it, something is telling me that I shouldn't do that.

 In fact if I make sweet mince I use it, like lemon curd, they are both used within a month.

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No need to be skilled at "pastry making" to make in a food processor. I make pastry for mince pies that way now having done it by hand for more than 40 years.  A Cordon Bleu recipe (remember the weekly part works back in the early 70's)

8 oz plain flour

5 oz butter

1 oz lard

1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoon of water

Throw whole lot into processor, pulse for a few seconds then on full. Lovely ball of pastry in no time.  Tip out and pull together if not quite a "ball".

Needs to be chilled before rolling and is very "short" with so much butter etc. Eat with a fork!

Best mincemeat I have ever made was recipe found on the internet last year when I ran out. Uses butter not suet, cooks for 10 minutes then sherry added (a lot). Can post recipe if anyone is interested.   Made mincemeat at the week-end and first mince pies yesterday - yummy.

Mrs H

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I haven't kept the butter based one for more than a month. The suet based one tastes better after being stored. I am logged on just to get the mascapone pastry recipe - just off to make some mince pies using mincemeat I made in 2012 - it is absolutely fine!

In fact some members of the family say it is better after 2 years.......... Just make sure the jars are sterilised and it is kept in a cool dark place. It is rare that it hangs around that long though!

Christmas puddings the same - they keep for a good couple of years if I over cater.

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OK, it was the butter that was worrying me, I would not have fancied it after so long.

If the apples ferment, then they do, but as we had an accident with fermented apples, I am ere on the cautious side these days.  My husband put some apple juice in a sealed container with other ingredients, no idea what he was making, he gets 'ideas' sometimes about making things. The container was in a cupboard in the dark and one fine evening as we were eating we had an explosion, the whole container literally blew up....  Broke a few things and there was a mess to clean up, but no one was hurt.

We do have fun chez nous sometimes[Www]

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[quote user="confused of chalus"]can I just thank Idun for that pastry recipe. So easy, so short, and it after a couple of hours chilling it rolled out without sticking.

two dozen mince pies and six goats cheese and fig flans this evening.

thanks again![/quote]

Confused, goat's cheese and figs, sounds glorious![:D]

OH doesn't like goat cheese so it will have to be keep mum about the cheese being goat or how about reblochon and figs,...................hmmmm  ymmmmm!

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I suppose we are both awkward in our own ways. There are some things he really doesn't like, but there are more that I don't.  I will happily make the things he likes, I will happily make lots of things that others like and I don't (my mother would not!). However, he often makes stuff he likes himself as he enjoys cooking and then I have what I like and we are both happy.

Of the things that I make to please others.......... there is one that I hate and loathe and that is 'american' cheescake, baked or unbaked. I may have a sweet tooth, but beurk, and if someone says to me again, you haven't tried mine, well, I shall blow a fuse. I love yorkshire curd tart though.

mint........... I would know if there was goat's cheese in anything, or brebis. I have had the misfortune to be given both as yoghurts too..... and once it was fromage blanc with one of them. Not for me.

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