I’ve already explained my fondness for Christmas Mince Pies, and its seems that I’ve unfortunately inflicted my girlfriend and her family with this seasonal, baked addiction. My wonderful mother has been sending M&S pies in her care packages, but they’ve always been gobbled up in a couple of days. And it seems that Christmas Stollen has stolen
the title of “Foreign Christmas Baked Good in Japan”, instead of the trusty mince pie. So after avoiding the astronomical price of sub-standard offerings over here in Japan, my girlfriend and I decided to make our own.
We had intended on baking them after purchasing a large jar of mincemeat while travelling around Osaka. It’s a rare baking item in Japan, and something that’s rather time-consuming to make from scratch. In hindsight, we probably should have stocked up on more. Anyway, one cold Saturday afternoon we went to her family’s place which actually has a “kitchen” and an proper oven. I had previously made mince pies during a cooking class at my secondary school. They’re aren’t the most demanding thing, but baking isn’t exactly something I regularly do. I’d rather throw everything into a pan with spices and herbs, than have to carefully shape and mould cakes and biscuits.
There was a one-sided debate over whether to use a Japanese recipe or the BBC Good Food’s recipe. Which would you go for? 1) The tried and tested, original recipe or 2) a foreign imitation.
I weighed the ingredients, checked the recipe and pretty much made the pastry. I left the delicate pastry cutting, forming and filling to my girlfriend. Our first attempt appeared cooked on the top, due to the glaze. But two out of the six lacked the structural integrity, and started to collapse. But we made the adjustments; slightly lower temperature and a longer baking time. God, I sound like one of the contestants on The Great British Bake Off. As a result, the second lot turned out perfect with a nice baked colour. Overall the taste was great and we were pretty pleased with the results.
However I think I may have unintentionally passed the “Mince Pie Craving” onto her, as she wants to make more. She’s currently researching places to buy mincemeat and other baking/ decorating techniques. Oh well, what’s wrong with more pies.