I’m sure we’re all guilty of buying in an excess amount of food for the Christmas period? We alone have more varieties of cheese than pairs of clean socks in the house & enough alcohol to pickle us for the whole of 2021! We know it’s too much & yet we do it every year. Two things are more prevalent in all the excess this year though, firstly how lucky we are to still be in a position to indulge, as so many will be facing very difficult times this Christmas. Secondly, the alcohol stash seems to be diminishing an awful lot quicker than usual (again, probably down to 2020 & the ‘C’ that shall not be named).
Whilst it may seem frivolous, I’ll be damned it I let any of that food go to waste (even if we’re eating sage & sausage stuffing as a side to every meal for a fortnight!). It’s become tradition within my kitchen now to come up with new (sometimes simple, sometimes extravagant, sometimes questionable) ways to use up whatever we have leftover. Be it an excess of cranberries that didn’t make it into the sauce or a panettone that’s stale & past it’s best, I’ll find a use for it.
Mincemeat is just one of those thing’s that I’ll make a massive batch of at the beginning of the month & often end up with a few spoonfuls lurking at the bottom of the jar come January. Whilst I could quite happily eat this by the spoonful, there are more dignified ways to use it up (unless no-one’s watching at least).
This year, it found its way into a batch of sweet, buttery scones. These have all of the characteristics of a crumbly, fruit scone but with an added hint of festiveness. These are the sort of thing I’ll bake on those quiet days in-between Christmas & New Year’s, at time where we usually head outdoors into the countryside for some long, wintery walks. Quick & simple to make, these will get packaged up & brought along with a flask of tea & our best bobble hats as we emerge from our Christmas hibernation. You don’t have to be outdoors to enjoy these, but I will highly recommend slicing them in half before filling with a generous dollop of brandy cream (well, it is still Christmastime).
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 50g butter (unsalted) , cubed
- Pinch of salt
- 30g caster sugar
- 125g mincemeat
- 125ml milk, plus extra for brushing
- Sift together the flour, spices & baking powder into a large bowl
- Cube the butter & add this to the flour
- Using your fingertips, gently rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
- Add the caster sugar & salt to the bowl & stir through the breadcrumb mixture
- In a separate bowl or jug, briefly mix together the milk & mincemeat to break up any lumps
- Make a well in the centre of the bowl, pour in the wet ingredients & stir though to form a sticky dough (I always use a table knife as opposed to a spoon to do this, just to reduce handling)
- Gently bring the mixture together with your hands & empty onto a lightly floured surface
- Use your hands to flatten the dough to an approximately 3cm thick round
- Using a 6cm fluted pastry cutter, cut out the scones & place on a parchment lined baking sheet, carefully bring together the remaining dough to flatten & cut out more scones until all of the mix has been used
- Brush the tops of the scones with a little milk
- Bake in the oven at 200°C for 12 – 15 minutes, until well risen & golden
- Remove from the scones from the baking sheet & place on a cooling rack to cool a little
- Serve whilst still warm or wait until cooled