‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere I go… ‘ by Shana Dawn Lewis

For me, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. I absolutely love it! In the Easter issue, I spoke a bit about what Christmas was like for me growing up, as the fruit cake recipe in that issue is the one I bake every Christmas and Easter. Sad face, as I can’t use that recipe again, so for this issue I thought I would make mince pies, using some of the fruits I use in my cakes. These fruits have been soaking all year around. Also, as an added treat, we have a mulled wine recipe too. 

It’s been such a year of very low lows and not nearly as many highs. However, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Editor-in-Chief, Shirley McGreal, on her MBE. Hearing the news about this wonderful achievement certainly has been one of my highlights in a year of unprecedented and unforeseen circumstances. It has been a pleasure to see so many of the Black and gospel community – who have been featured over the years in Keep The Faith magazine – being listed on the Queen’s Honours List in 2020. 

No doubt there will be much to celebrate in your households this Christmas, so what better way to do this than with some homemade mince pies and mulled wine? 

Mince Pies 

Ingredients 

For the pastry:

  • 10oz plain flour
  • 8oz butter, softened
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 1 medium-sized egg

For the filling:

  • 3 large tablespoons of quality mincemeat (from a jar)
  • 3 large tablespoons of home-soaked fruits (if you have them)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. To make the sweet pastry, rub the flour, butter, sugar and egg together until it just comes together as dough, being careful not to over-work the dough. Wrap the pastry in cling film, and set aside to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.
  2. Put the mincemeat into a bowl, and mix in your home-soaked fruits. Use more from the jar if you don’t have soaked fruit. Place to one side.
  3. Roll out the pastry – not too thick – and, with the larger round pastry cutter, cut out 12 circles. Press the pastry into your cupcake tray, and fill each one with a small spoonful of the mincemeat mixture. Do not overfill or you’ll get a sticky mess as an end result, which will still taste nice but won’t look too pretty! 
  4. With your smaller, fluted pastry cutter, cut another 12 circles to make the lids. Place a lid on top of each pie and gently push down. You can brush edges of the bottom halves with a little water around the edges to help the lids stick. This is optional. Prick the top of each pie with a fork, so any air inside will be able to escape.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar, and serve warm with fresh cream, custard, ice cream or brandy butter… the choice of what you serve them with is totally up to you. They also taste just as good on their own. 

Mulled Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 standard bottle of red wine
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime

Method

  • Put red wine*, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lime slices and orange slices into a saucepan and cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
  • Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
  • To serve, heat without boiling, and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.

(*Grape juice can be used as a substitute for the red wine for a non-alcoholic version.)

Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year, from Shana Dawn from Christlike Creations. 

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