Another cranberry post from me, I really can't get enough of them though I didn't manage to fill my freezer with them this year, I've got too much ham stock and other xmas leftovers taking up all the space. I know it's late in the year to be posting a mince pie recipe but I didn't make any this year until the 23rd and hadn't even thought about putting these on the blog until we tasted them. I did manage to take a couple of quick photos though to remind me of what I did in case I wanted to bake these again next year. These were declared the best mince pies ever by my boyfriend which is high praise indeed. So what's so exciting about these then? They have a cube of homemade marzipan and a couple of fresh cranberries nestled into a dollop of shop bought mincemeat, wrapped in homemade buttery shortcrust pastry. Normally I just use a jar of mincemeat and make my own pastry and that's it. My Mum and I had a go at making our own mincemeat about 10 years ago and it was horrid, we don't know where we went wrong but it was inedible and Mum had to buy a jar so neither of us has experimented with mince pies since then. However after making mincemeat and cranberry muffins last year which everyone loved, I decided that maybe I could try adding a few cranberries to the mince pies this year to see what would happen. I also had a chunk of marzipan leftover from covering the Christmas cake and whilst I was stood in the kitchen munching it I thought it might work well with the cranberries. The cranberries add a nice hint of tartness which stops the marzipan from making them too sweet, the marzipan also melts slightly into the mincemeat and adds to the delicious richness. I like to use my homemade marzipan wherever possible as I prefer the taste, I find shop bought versions too sickly but if you happen to have some left and have a sweeter tooth than me then it would be fine. For the mincemeat I didn't use a fancy brand, just Tesco's own brand which costs about £1 a jar. It always seems to taste much nicer in homemade pastry anyway than the ready made mince pies even though it probably is the same mincemeat. Ingredients - makes 11-12 For the pastry: 8oz plain flour 4oz cold unsalted butter, cubed cold water beaten egg to glaze For the filling: 1/2 jar of mincemeat 24 fresh or frozen cranberries 12 small cubes of marzipan, about the same size as 2 cranberries Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, add 2-3 tbsp cold water or just enough to bring the pastry together into a dough and knead lightly into a ball. Rest it in the fridge if you want to but I usually don't bother. Preheat the oven to 180C and divide the pastry in two, roll out the first half and cut out bases for the pies using a 9cm fluted pastry cutter and use these to line the holes of a 12 hole bun tin, re roll the trimmings as you go. Use an 8cm cutter for the pie lids and place these to one side. Use approx 1 heaped tsp mincemeat for each pie and add 2 cranberries and a piece of marzipan on top of the mincemeat. Brush the base of the lids with a little water and press down firmly onto the bases to seal the pies, make a small steam hole in the top and brush with beaten egg to glaze. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cool on a wire rack. And just for fun here's a photo of this year's Christmas cake design, apologies for the crappy phone photo, don't know why I didn't think to pick up the camera for this. Brain must have been in sugar overload by nibbling at marzipan and royal icing. Up until this year I've always gone for the rustic look with my royal icing, again because it's how Mum does it and you all know I'm not the most skilled at decorating. A little while ago I watched a video on how to get a smooth finish with royal icing and as my boyfriend bought me a nice raised cake stand for my birthday I thought I'd give it a go. Still needs some practice but overall I'm very happy with the result. Another one for my fresh cranberry linky.