It’s the first week of December, and in my world that means only one thing…
This recipe, inspired by the Hot Tuaca Apple Drink that Diana and I had in Lewes, is one I save specially for this chilly time of year! Tuaca, for those of you who don’t know, is a caramel based brandy which is delicious moreish. I start soaking raisins in it around September… They soak up the scrumptious flavours then pump them around the pie during the cooking stage.
Don’t worry if you don’t have 3 months free to leave fruit soaking, a week should suffice or if you only have a day just slosh a little extra liquor in the pie when you cook it. But the longer you leave them, the more they will boozily swell! Mine were near enough the size of olives when I returned to them!
So. Raisins ready? Apron donned?
It’s pie time.
- Tuaca-soaked raisins
- 1 big Bramley apple
- 2 Pink Lady apples
- A teaspoon of powdered cinnamon
- A sprankle of brown sugar
- Puff pastry
To make Mini Tuaca Pies
1. Pre-heat oven to 190
2. Peel your apples and chop them to small pieces, ensuring the core of the apple plays no part. Pop them in a bowl and stir them up. Sprinkle your cinnamon and sugar over the top, and stir so all the apple pieces are coated.
3. Fetch the puff pastry you made earlier (you’re damn right I’m pleased with myself!)
4. Roll the pastry out thin- slightly less than the thickness of a pound coin.
5. Fetch a baking tray with moulds- the sort you would use for yorkshire puddings or fairy cakes, or in this case mini pies- and grease all the moulds.
6. Cut circles out of your flat pastry, exceed the diameter of your moulds by about 1cm
7. Place your pastry circle over one of the moulds and gently press down. There should be an edge of pastry over the mould of about 1/2 cm. Repeat this for all the moulds.
8. Now place some of your sweet cinnamon apple inside the pastry cups, and tops with a generous pinch of raisins- feel perfectly comfortable with a good pyramid of raisins piled on top of your apples!
9. Return to your pastry sheet and cut more circles- this time more or less exact in the diameter of your pie moulds. Gentle place on top of each of your pies, then bring up the edges left from the bottom piece of pastry and pinch together with the top pie all the way around, in order to form a crust.
10. Brush the tops with beaten egg, and stab in little “breathing holes” with a knife.
11. Bake for 25 minutes.
12. Transfer to a cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar
13. Enjoy. Particularly nice with a dob of clotted cream!
Perhaps I’m just making excuses for myself, but for me this time of year is all about homemade comfort food- something that will make you feel loved when you come in from the cold! So as far as I’m concerned, the more nobbly and bobbly your pies… The better!
Another important thing this time of year? Sharing! So take these beauties into work and give your friends and colleagues something to smile about!