Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mincemeat and Pear Muffins: Let's Make Christmas II

To entertain us on long journeys when we were kids, we were given 'I spy...' books. I would be happily amused with 'I spy on the Motorway' for the time it took to travel an entire mid-sized European country. Hours would go by as I'd try and spot a sign for 'accompanied horses and ponies'. So easily entertained. 

And just in time for the festive season What Kate Baked is proud to present 'I Spy....Christmas'. Here's a sneak preview of the 'I Spy Christmas in November' section, aka all those Christmasssy things you're already smiling through gritted teeth about...

'I Spy... cheesy furniture adverts using your favourite-ever Christmas song (grrr) to promise you delivery of an oversized red leather sofa in time for Christmas'

'I Spy... Sunday papers chock full of Gift Magazines selling really-you-shouldn't-have items such as 'Treasure Hunt Shoes' and 'Musical Loo Roll Dispensers'' *

'I Spy... glossy magazine features such as celebrity versions of 'Christmas Countdowns' that will 'inspire you and make life easier this Christmas for you and your family' as they pose happily in their Hello-magazine-houses'

How many can you tick off already?

Anyways, here is my second entry into Vanessa Kimbell's Let's Make Christmas, a brilliantly- festive themed blogging challenge to create delicious foodie gifts this Christmas: mincemeat and pear muffins

(Makes 10 muffins)

For the crumble:
25g unsalted butter
35g plain flour
25g light brown sugar

For the pear and mincemeat:
Half a conference pear, chopped into small segments
10 tsps of Mincemeat

For the cake:
150g self raising flour
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tbsps of soured cream

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180C /160C fan/350F. Line the pockets of a muffin tray with ten muffin cases 
2. Prepare the crumble: place the flour into a bowl and add the butter. Using the tips of your fingers rub the butter and flour together until the mixture forms bread crumbs. Add the sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Set aside
3. For the cake: cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs. Fold in one tbsp of the flour, followed by 1 tsp of the sour cream, then repeat until all the flour and cream is used. 
4. Dollop the cake mixture into each muffin case, smooth over the top and spoon one teaspoon of the mincemeat over the top and then gently place 3-4 of the pear segments over the mincemeat. Sprinkle with the crumble and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes. The crumble should be golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean
5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before placing on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving

Baker's notes...
  • Mincemeat recipe to follow!
  • These last for up to 2 days in an airtight container but are very tasty warm from the oven with a dollop of hot custard
  • This was a bit of an 'experiment cake'- mainly because I had half a tub of soured cream leftover to use. But Chief Taster A gave the thumbs up. 
  • *Actual presents available on a high street near you...


  1. I really like the idea of combining pear and mincemeat - gorgeous wintery flavours. Now the weather's started to get colder, I feel like it's time to embrace Christmas, so loving reading posts like this!

  2. LOVELY combination Kate ~ pears and mincemeat, yum! We used to have I Spy books too ~ and I loved them, the long journeys seemed so quick when you were filling in your I Spy books!
    I spy Countdown to Christmas already in all magazines!
    I made a BIG batch of my fat-free mincemeat two days ago ~ for mum and maybe Let's Make Christmas too! <wink <wink!

  3. We used to also play 'pick a car colour and the first to 100 is the winner'. I can't believe we fell for it. Living now it NZ the Christmas thing is not so consumer focussed, maybe because we are looking forward to summer and beaches more!

  4. Kate how utterly scrummy! Looking forward to seeing you next week, it should be fun.
    We are recycling my sons' I spy books on France, my five year old is now using both on the same journey, trying to fill in bits the boys missed all those years ago!

  5. It is weird how you haven't heard of something and then it is everywhere. I hadn't thought of mincemeat muffins until someone brought some into our staff room after visiting costco. I immediately decided to make them and today is the day and now I am seeing them all over. I have decided to try them as iced cupcakes first. I love your idea of adding the pear. Great for a muffin.

  6. I can count off all of those ... but I love Christmas and hate to admit just how many things I've already made for the bid day lol. Love these muffins, I made some last year and everyone fell on them the second they came out of the oven. The addition of pear is a great idea too ;0)

  7. You've done it again. I made a big batch of mincemeat this weekend and was wondering what I could make other than mince pies. A friend is having a winter solstice bonfire and asked if I could make some cakes - light is dawning.

  8. Pear and mincemeat sounds like a fabulous combination, these look great!

    I remember those I spy books too - I never managed to spot anything worth more than 5 or 10 points. Your 'accompanied horses and ponies' sign must surely have been a 50 point one!


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