Christmas in February
A couple of days before Christmas I baked vegan mince pies and then got too busy to blog about it. I just found this draft that was started on 23 DEC and figured I’d finish it now. Merry Christmas!
I am British. Check my passport if you don’t believe me! My Papa was born in London and I have British citizenship by descent. I have dual citizenship: UK and Canada. Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, I figured since I was all British and junk that I should start learning how to be so. Pip pip!
Cheerio, Guvnah! Everything I know about Christmas in Britain I learned from Rick Steves, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, and Love Actually (yes, I am aware that last clip has nothing to do with Christmas but it’s one of my favourite parts of the movie so just shut up and enjoy it). The Christmas tradition that screams BRITISH to me is the baking of mince pies. I must confess that before this Christmas I had never made or eaten mince pies either before or after becoming vegan (worst Briton ever). We always have mincemeat cookies in the house at Christmastime because my Faja is crazy for them, but I had never tried the pies. I hear Brits bang on about them all the time, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
I found a fantastic pastry recipe online from a blogger I have seen floating around the web (she’s even stopped by my little corner of the internet!) and decided to give her recipe a whirl. It was similar to other vegan pastry recipes I’d made before and I had no trouble with it.
Being a couple days before Christmas I had a slew of friends over at the house to visit, and I roped one into helping. My darling web administrator, Patrick, rolled up his sleeves and got all floury with me!
Pat-ty Cake is a much better dough roller than I, let me tell you that for free. We punched out circles for our tarts.
The real key to making vegan mince pies is to have vegan mince “meat” (minced fruits). Let’s turn to our good friend Wikipedia to give us the history of mincemeat. As you see, there’s barely ever meat in mincemeat anymore, it’s just beef suet (fat). Find yourself some suet-free minced fruit and you’re in business! Luckily for me, the Atlantic SuperStore (not as grand as it sounds, non-locals) sells a suet-free version.
Now, the smell of this stuff really pulls me back to my childhood, when we would bake mincemeat cookies with Mama for when Pops got home. The scent of the spicing in this mixture is like snorting a line of pure Christmas for me. I love it! Okay, Brits, I think I’m on board.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we lined a mini-muffin/tart tin with our pastry circles and spooned in our mincemeat.
And now the fun part! Lattice work!!!
Kriss Kross! (The Daddy Mack’ll make ya…)
While Padraig diligently helped like a dear, my friend Kaleigh contributed nothing but mischief.
We threw these little fellas into the oven and waited impatiently as the sweet, spicy aromas of Christmas tempted us from the oven.
They turned out golden and a sight to behold! But how did they taste? LIKE HOME?!? (And by “home” I mean “Britain”.)
We thought they were absolutely delicious, but there was only one way to find out for sure: force feed them to British people! Luckily for us, I know a family of ex-pat (soon to be re-pat) Brits living in our neck of the woods. I brought a tin of pies to work for my Secret Squirrel friend Michelle to bring home and share with her family. I dropped them at her desk, went up a floor to mine and almost immediately got an instant message saying that they were perfect and she wasn’t sure any would make it home for her family. SWEET SUCCESS!!!!
One British Christmas tradition down, how many to go? Maybe by next year I’ll be sipping mulled wine and eating vegan figgy pudding. We shall see, guv. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and yours (two months ago)!