But since I have volunteered to bake Christmas goodies for the Keep Well & Keep Warm Project organised by local baking club Band of Bakers I have been researching festive recipes and trying to come up with an inventive way to use mincemeat.
Here's what I came up with. And it's my first real blog post. Applause, applause...
Mincemeat Kugelhopf with Rum Butter Glaze
Essentially this is a very rich, buttery brioche, layered with mincemeat, soaked with rum syrup and iced with a rum butter glaze. I baked mine in one 10 inch diameter 4 inch high bundt tin but I definitely overfilled the tin...
Brioche (makes enough for two 20cm (8inch) kugelhopfs)
600gr strong bread flour
2 tbsp dried yeast
100ml tepid milk (full fat or semi skimmed)
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs beaten
2tbsp dark rum
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla paste
150gr room temperature butter in small pieces
vegetable shortening for coating tin
400gr good-quality mincemeat
Rum soaking syrup
100gr light brown sugar
100ml dark rum
2 drops vanilla extract
Rum Butter glaze
roughly 150-200gr icing sugar (more if needed)
2 tbsp dark rum
squeeze of half a lemon
Put the yeast, milk and one tablespoon of sugar in a measuring jug. Stir then leave to stand for 5 minutes till frothy. Add the eggs, vanilla paste, rum, lemon and orange zest to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon or your hands and then turn the dough out on a work surface. Knead it like mad for ten minutes - it is rather a sticky dough but resist temptation to add too much flour. Once dough has come together start adding the butter a few pieces at a time and keep kneading until completely incorporated.
Put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm and put in the (unheated) oven on middle self. On the bottom of the oven put a roasting tin full of boiling water and leave to rise for an 1 1/2 h. It should triple in size - although mine really did just about double in size.
Melt 2 tbsp of vegetable shortening in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, generously brush the interior of the bundt tin and coat it with flour.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a thick sausage shape about 40cm long.
Slice it with a dough scraper into pieces about 1cm thick. Spread out the slices of dough on your work surface, flatten each with your hands and spread about a tablespoon of mincemeat on each piece (reserve 4-5 pieces of plain dough to use as last layer.).
Using both hands, lift the pieces one by one and place in the mould overlapping them slightly. Continue until mould is half full as the dough will rise again (I overfilled mine). Use the plain pieces of dough as your last layer and then press the dough down with your knuckles so it fills the mould. Cover with clingfilm and put it back in the oven with bowl of boiling water as before. Leave to rise for about 40 minutes then take out and keep somewhere warm while you preheat the over to 180°C (350°F) for at least 20 minutes.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until the loaf is brown and coming away slightly from the edges of the tin. Mine was ready in 50 minutes. You may want to cover the tin with some tin foil after about 20m if it's browning too much.
Leave to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack. Prepare the rum syrup by putting all the ingredients in a pan and simmering gently until the sugar dissolves, then turning the heat up and boiling for two minutes. Leave it cool slightly. Carefully remove the kugelhopf from the mould (the mincemeat had seeped through on mine as you can see).
Prepare the rum butter glaze by putting the icing sugar, lemon juice and rum in a pan on low heat. Whisk until sugar dissolves, add the butter and whisk again. If it is too thick add some boiling water or more rum. If it's too runny add more icing sugar. Remove from heat and pour glaze over the kugelhopf. Transfer onto a serving plate or cake stand. Finally, dust with icing sugar. If you don't like it too sweet skip the rum glaze and just dust with icing sugar. The rum glaze is amazing though. I wanted to bathe in it.
This is a wondefully Christmassy, spicy, rich, boozy kugelhopf. I will definitely make it again – a new Christmas tradition in the making?
PS: if you want to make your own mincemeat there several good recipes you can google.
This one gets good ratings Boozy mincemeat