Mince Pie masterclass

It was Bread Group today, and with fifteen people plus instructors it was a bit of a crush in the kitchen. Who’d have thought it a couple of years ago? In those days we had to persuade friends and drag farm staff in to make numbers up.

The day that stands out most in my memory was the day the farmer persuaded one of his friends to send two daughters along. They seemed a little over-dressed when they arrived, but when I saw they were wearing acrylic nails (or what looked like acrylic nails) my heart sank.

I spent the whole session counting their nails as their hands emerged from mixing and kneading. They ended the day with ten each, and I relaxed.

Today, however, was a different sort of session – experienced bakers and keen beginners, with not a false nail in sight.

Not only was it a session for the serious, but we were using a top-secret mince pie pastry from a shadowy German-trained specialist. These are, to use a Nottingham analogy, the Brough Superior of mince pies and they will be available at our Winterfest event on 5th December – I may have mentioned it once or twice before.

In general the day went as you would expect from shutting a large group of bakers into a poorly-ventilated room with four ovens and the fumes that rose from various home-made mincemeats. If you get one of the pies made from one of  “those” recipes you might want to consider not driving for a while. The level of joviality was high and there was much actual jollity in the room (though I managed to fight it off when I felt it creeping up on me). All in all, it was the first day of Christmas spirit I’ve experienced this year and a very enjoyable day. They even gave me a mince pie even though I was just there to take photos.

There was a slight edge to the atmosphere, based on the fact that if you put down your bun tin for too long someone might purloin it (I speak from bitter experience of a session long ago – the scars are still with me), but this didn’t stop the production of large number of high quality mince pies, which are now shrink-wrapped and frozen in expectation of the big day.

I think it’s appropriate here, though I’m not one to get all touchy-feely about things, to say thanks to the Bread Group for their support, as some of them will be coming to help us out on the 5th. They always come to help with Open Farm Sunday too, and are very much the driving force when we need volunteers for event.

Apart from that there’s nothing….oh, you’d like the recipe?

Many people would, but sadly only the select few members of the Bread group are privy to that information.

Maybe next year…






8 thoughts on “Mince Pie masterclass

  1. M. Agriculteur

    While you had me at mince pies, my heart sang at the Brough Superior metaphor. Sadly mince pies in the States are cloying affairs with pallid pastry. If you shared a recipe on the side with your distant American friend to help his wife see the light I would not tell a soul. 🙂

  2. Yvonne

    Oh, I am drooling at the thought of mince tarts. I think you use prepared crust … maybe I’ll try that, as I’ve had no success with pie crust making since we moved to Australia.


Leave a Reply