Thursday, 5 December 2013

Joy's Ginger buns and Frangipan Mince Pies

Wow, is it already the sixth of December? We are over a fifth of the way there to festive family fun. Goes so quickly, it won’t be long until the second of January when we emerge bleary eyed and amazed we have to wait another year. It is odd after months and months of build-up often Christmas is gone after just a week.

Months of panic buying, panic preparing and panic baking. If you do it right though, it is definitely worth the hassle. Christmas creates some magical moments if you let it, especially when baking’s involved. There’s nothing quite like settling round the TV with “the folks” and enjoying a warmed mince pie. Roaring fire in the corner, bellies so full already that you can’t actually move. Yet somehow there’s definitely room for that warm pie and indeed I will have some brandy butter.
Look a candle!
That’s a lovely image to have in your head to power you through the last few weeks. In reality by the evening everyone’s fed up of each other, the kids want to play with prezzies, adults want to just sleep and Grandmas just done or said something unpleasant. But you know what keeps its special nature that homemade mince pie, you know unless it’s Mr Kiplings.

Why do I present these pictures for you? Well todays review is a little different and a little special too. I have two items for you that were homemade with love. Made by my wonderful Girlfriends mum, who is eagerly getting into the festive mood and baking up a storm. Except that last week we had a ground almond stock emergency and had to do some extra scouting to track the blighters down. In celebration of our success she baked thank you ginger buns (which I love) and Frangipane Mince Pies, which I have never tried but was more than a little intrigued.

His happiness was not to last...
Now I know, in context can I be completely impartial in this review you ask. Well not really I guess for one both my Girlfriend and her mum could possibly read this. However I will attempt to review them as I do with any item given to me and try to remain impartial. Not that I think it will be a problem the ginger buns especially are always good (don’t get me started on the crumbles!)

So first up ginger buns, that’s what they are called and essentially what they are. You may know them as fairy cakes or mini cupcakes depending on your vocabulary. Either way these are slightly more special than usual by featuring an icing topping with a miniature gingerbread man for added love. The cakes themselves taste as great as ever, with a light fluffy texture and a subtly sweet butter taste. Then you come across a small piece of stem ginger and get an intense fiery kick that adds even more excitement.
He met an unfortunate "accident"
I will admit I took more pleasure in slowly consuming the gingerbread man limb for limb than I’d like to admit. Then again that’s where the fun is, poor guy by the end he was barely a bow tie! Then I moved on to a pie, a new concept for me this one. I’m use to my mince pies being topped by more pastry, which if I have to admit I’m not found of due to the fact that I get a bit board by pie crust. So these seem like an awesome idea, instead of the usual pastry on top, is a layer of marzipan and then flaked almonds.
Tasted amazing, totally unbiased... honest
The result tastes great with the combination of buttery pastry, mince pie filling and almond topped marzipan is great! They somehow all hit you at once in a lovely blend and yet also are unique enough that you can pick out each layer. I’m not sure what parts my favourite but I’m going to hedge my bets and say the top layer, it tastes sweetly of almond and has the flaked nuts on top for added crunch and texture. I don’t know why shops don’t sell these; Mr Kipling does about five types of mince pie but all pretty much the same.

Overall these were amazing, but then again they were bound to be. No, not because I’m biased, but because they were homemade and that made them special.
Ginger Bun - 8 out of 11
Frangipan Mince Pie - 9 out of 11
A tupperware box presented to me.
Final Thoughts
What should I bake in return?

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