Getting festive with a Mince Pie Masterclass hosted by Eric Lanlard and Meantime Brewing Company

There is no better way to get into a festive mood than making Mince Pies! However, what does beat that is when it is none other than “Cake Boy” teaching you how to make them. Yes….the legendary Eric Lanlard.

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I was lucky enough to be part of a masterclass hosted by Eric Lanlard and Meantime Brewing Company to make festive mince pies with a secret ingredient – a brand new ale.

What has been brewing behind the scenes (pardon the pun), has been a new flavour as part of the Pilot Series by Meantime Brewing Company in collaboration with celebrity chef and Master Pâtissier Eric Lanlard called ‘Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale’, a nutty dark ale that’s absolutely perfect for the festive season.

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The Pilot Series is a range of bespoke bespoke limited edition brews which have a variety of exciting flavours and beers that you wouldn’t normally expect.

Before we started our masterclass, we were all chatting while trying the new ale and I can confirm it is as delicious to drink as it is to use as an ingredient in mince pies! It would even work in cakes.

So to kick off the masterclass, we all positioned ourselves in Eric’s cookery class area and in front of us were already pre-weighed ingredients. Eric explained the importance of exact measurements and what a difference it makes in taste and output.

We all donned our aprons and started mixing the ingredients for the first part, before heating the mixture up on the hob.

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Next we mixed in the ingredients for the filling and tried to resist not eating it out of the bowl as it smelt sensational.

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Eric gave us each some pastry cups ready for filling and we had great fun filling them with our mince pie mixtures.

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Next we cut out some fancy stars to decorate our mince pies with to make them look extra festive and away they went in the oven for baking.

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In true “these were made in advance” style, out came some mince pies for us to feast on while ours were doing their magic in the oven. We got to take ours home and they were greatly appreciated by the other half when I got home, who was also equally excited that he could try a bottle of the Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale too!

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If you would like to try these Mince Pies, you can do at either the Meantime Brewery Tasting Rooms or at Cake Boy until 22nd December. Trust me they are divine!

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Alternatively, you can have a go at making them at home and here is the recipe courtsey of Eric Lanlard:

RECIPE: CAKE BOY HAZELNUT ALE MINCE PIES

Ingredients

For the mincemeat

250 g golden sultanas
250 g glacé cherries, halved
250 g raisins
100 g mixed peel
1 tsp vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey
orange zest, finely grated
lemon zest, finely grated
125g unsalted butter
250g dark muscovado sugar
250ml Meantime’s Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale
100gr ground roasted Hazelnut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice

For the pies
250 g shortcrust pastry
250 g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Method

1. Put all the dried fruit and spices into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Place the vanilla extract, grated orange and lemon zest, butter, sugar and Cake Boy Hazelnut Ale in a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved (ensure you do not let it boil). Pour over the mixed fruit and stir gently, without breaking up the fruit pieces. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to infuse for around 48 hours.

2. Once the fruit is infused, pack the mincemeat into sterilised jars and seal. Store in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to allow the flavours to mature.

3. When you are ready to make the mince pies, preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4).

4. Grease 6 individual 10cm diameter loose-bottomed tartlet tins. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly on a lightly floured surface and then use the pastry to line the tins.

5. Once the tins are lined with shortcrust pastry, generously fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat. It is likely you will have some mixture left over for using again.

6. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. When it is around 4-5 mm thin, brush with a beaten egg. Next, cut out 6 shapes that will be used to top the tarts (this recipe uses a star shape for Christmas). Sprinkle the puff pastry shapes with muscovado sugar, place on top of the individual pies and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and slightly puffed.

Let me know if you do have a go making these and tweet me a picture!

For further information on Meantime and The Pilot Series, please visit meantimebrewing.com

I was a guest of Cake Boy and Meantime Brewing Company. All views and photos are my own. The recipe is courtesy of Eric Lanlard.