Karen Wright: Mince pies and all things nice

This week I have been freezing once again! I don’t mean literally although it is quite parky now.

The traditional image of Father Christmas gets treated to a sweet colourful makeover
The traditional image of Father Christmas gets treated to a sweet colourful makeover

What I mean is that I have been making some mince pies to freeze now and bring out when needed over the festive period.

I needed to make room for them though, so I have also been working my

way through all the meals that I have frozen over the last couple of months, so not much cooking from scratch whilst I do this - just defrost and ping!

Mince pies have been part of our Christmas traditions for centuries.

Back in the Middle Ages when the crusaders went off to the Middle East they brought back all manner of spices, fruits and nuts from their travels. Mince pies originally contained meat, hence the name ‘mincemeat’ but this died out and we were left with just suet. Now with the advent of vegetarian suet we can all enjoy a mince pie regardless of our dietary choices, even vegan if you make a pastry with vegan butter.

I hosted a ‘Zoom’ workshop making my frangipane topped mince pies last week too.

My bakers were mostly joining me from the USA, and they don’t have a mince pie tradition there.

In fact, some of them found it difficult to find the dried fruits to make the mincemeat, something we take for granted over here.

I was very pleased with the results from the class. We had 100 per cent

success rate and this was repeated a few days later when I held another festive bake along and we made a glorious meringue wreath, which was topped with candied orange slices, clementines, orange curd and chocolate leaves.

Another commitment last week was presenting a decorated Christmas cake to the Wakefield Pride organisers. They held an event to raise funds and gather toys for the children in our area who may be suffering the economic bite. The cake was a raffle prize and I had decorated it with a rather unusual Father Christmas figure.

I need to do a bit of a ‘spring’ clean before putting up the Christmas tree and making our home look bright and welcoming as both our girls and our grandchildren will be in Yorkshire this year. I am beyond excited!