I braved it to the markets yesterday and survived! Waded myself through the now melting snow and fought the overcrowded aisles to get my provisions for Christmas. Every year – year for year it’s pretty much the same scenario.
One would think that the Earth was being attacked my hungry aliens, filling up shopping trolleys to the brim. I crack up at the sight! As I wait for a trolley to get free, I push in the ear-pieces of my iPod and get swept away by the music. It’s my way to keeping sane and myself in a good mood.
Have you noticed how many aggressive people are out at this time of year? It’s rather ironic really! It is after all supposed to be the season filled with joy, happiness and good cheer, right? So I wonder who let all these nasty people out?
Like that guy in the parking lot yesterday, who showed me his middle finger because I was waiting, with blinkers on, to get into the parking space that just became free. I was not blocking any traffic. So, I smiled and blew him a kiss! Then we met again between lettuce and beetroots and I looked at him and once again put on my most cheerful smile. Yes – I think he really was ashamed after that but he did manage a weak smile back!
We are really looking forward to the next few days. My menu is perfect and I just finished making dessert for Christmas Eve dinner. If you want to know how we spend Christmas here, you can read my article A Christmas in Germany, over at the Daring Kitchen. It’s a magical time of year and Soeren helps us to see it through the eyes of seven year old.
The kitchen has been the most used room in the house for the past few weeks and we’ve been baking and enjoying some scrumptious treats. One of those treats were these Christmassy rolls made with some lovely mincemeat I brought back from London. I had planned on making my own mincemeat, but when in England why not make life easier and buy a jar, I thought.
For those new to mincemeat – it has nothing to do with ground meat nor does it contain meat, at least not anymore. In actual fact mincemeat is a traditional preserve made with dried fruits, spices and suet (one can substitute with vegetable suet). Finally alcohol, usually brandy or rum is added to preserve the mixture. Mincemeat pies and tarts are very popular in the UK around the winter holidays and one will find large variety of different ready made mincemeat in the stores.
Hilda took me to Waitrose in London and I was able to grab a jar of their cranberry & port mincemeat with the intention of making some mincemeat tarts for little Christmas presents. However, it did not happen. Instead I got a little idea in my head and went experimenting again. Brioche dough wrapped around the mincemeat and then cut into swirls – perfect breakfast treats that disappeared far too quickly!
Cranberry Port Mincemeat Brioche Rolls
Printable version of recipe here
For the dough
400g all-purpose flour
1 packet (7g) dry yeast
1/4 l milk
1 vanilla bean – insides scraped
300g cranberry mincemeat – see recipe here. Substitute brandy with port wine.
- To make the brioche dough mix together the yeast and flour in a bowl.
- In a saucepan gently heat the milk,with the vanilla bean and the innards and butter. Set aside to steep. Pour luke warm butter-vanilla milk into the flour and add the sugar and egg. Either using the hooks on your electric mixer or your hands knead into a smooth and sticky dough. Then cover with a damp cloth and place in a dry warm place for 40 minutes until the dough rises to double it’s volume.
- In the meantime preheat oven to 200 degrees C and line a baking tray with some baking paper.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a bit, then roll into a rectangle approx. 30 x 35 cm.
- Spread the cranberry port mincemeat leaving approx. 1 cm free around the edges. Then roll the dough from the long side into a log shaped roll. With a serrated knife cut slices about 3 cm thick.
- Place each roll on the tray and leave to rise for 15-20 minutes. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out and allow to cool on a wire rack.
You can sieve some powdered sugar on top or make a glaze using 75g icing sugar and mixing it with 2 tablespoons water then brushing the glaze on the completely cooled rolls. You can simply sprinkle with large sugar crystals like did.
I am pretty glad I changed my plans from pies to brioche rolls. It was a great take on the traditional version and they went down extremely well. Soeren and Tom enjoyed theses for breakfast with honey milk or coffee, while I took them to work and enjoyed them as a tea time treat. I love the slightly tart, spiced and sweet flavors of the mincemeat against the lovely yeasty vanilla scented brioche. Perfect!
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