This post is something of a love letter to Fortnum & Mason, London. I discovered Fortnums’ Mince Pie Biscuits this year & had to attempt the recipe myself…
It remains an unbroken tradition of mine that whenever I visit London, I have to go to Fortnum and Mason. Set across five floors at the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly, Fortnums is synonymous with fine food. As holders of the Royal Warrant to supply groceries to Her Majesty the Queen, it is reported that the Buckingham Palace kitchens have a direct line to the store so that they can place an order whenever need commands.
Within the world-famous building you are greeted by staff who are variously adorned in Morning Suits, waistcoats and traditional aprons. It’s like stepping back into another age, with wooden display shelves, glass cabinets and a cornucopia of delights. Even the banister on the staircase is enveloped in burgundy velvet.
Foods are available from every corner of the world – yet is it Fortnum’s own produce that I most adore. Jars of honey are harvested from the beehives that sit on top of the store – from bees who have more than likely sipped nectar from the flowers in Buckingham Palace gardens. Award winning marmalades herald from the Dalemain Marmalade Awards – an event that is sponsored and judged by Fortnums each year at a stately home in the Lake District. And then there are the musical biscuit tins…
Over the years, I have acquired a large collection of biscuit tins from Fortnums – most of which tinkle a tune when you turn a key at the bottom. There were the Nursery Rhyme series I bought when my son was little which played Old MacDonald and Pop Goes the Weasel, the Diamond Jubilee version which chimes out God Save the Queen, and the Christmas ones which play Jingle Bells and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The biscuits might have long gone but the tins shall remain with me forever.
In the run up to my most recent trip, I undertook research online as to what I wanted to buy. Fortnums is always busy, but at Christmas time it is something else. Alongside my perennial favourites (loose leaf black Christmas tea, Sandringham Blend coffee beans and a sugar mouse for my son), I spotted Mince Pie Biscuits.
Now, while I am a big fan of a good mince pie, I know many are not. Whether it is the pastry or the gelatinous filling, the offer of one of these festive treats sends some people racing for the hills. Nevertheless, there is something comforting and nostalgic about the scent of a mince pie so the idea of one in biscuit form is intriguing.
Battling through the masses on the ground floor of the store, I reached the biscuits section – sandwiched between coffee and preserves. The shelves are always reliably replenished so I easily acquired my prize, housed within a tall red and gold tin and embossed with a wise golden camel and festive fruits.
These biscuits are everything they promise to be. Oaty with a soft flapjack bite, yet punctuated with spice, fruits and nibblets of almonds. There is something reassuringly familiar about them, with a gentle warmth which makes them perfect as an accompaniment to a cup of Christmas tea.
I know the tin will not sustain me and my guests to Christmas (we’re a gluttonous lot) so I set my self the task to recreate the recipe. After a few attempts, I think I have got there although my version is a little less dainty that the originals. I’ve switched out currants for dried cranberries in my version as this is my favourite dried fruit of the moment. From the quantities here, I get around 25-30 biscuits – a good amount to keep me going throughout December. My Pumpkin Spice Mix is also great used in this recipe.Print
- 150g porridge oats
- 150g butter
- 100g granulated sugar
- 100g plain flour
- 100g shop bought mincemeat
- 30g dried cranberries
- 50g chopped glace cherries
- 35g mixed peel
- 40 g desiccated coconut
- 25g chopped almonds
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch salt
- 2tsp ground mixed spice (I use my Pumpkin Spice Mix)
- 15ml brandy
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Put the butter, sugar, cranberries, mixed peel, dried spices, salt, mincemeat and black treacle into a pan and meld together over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has molten and the sugar dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before stirring in the chopped cherries and brandy.
- Measure the rolled oats, flour, coconut, almonds, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl and mix together. Pour in the contents of the pan and stir well. Whisk the egg in a cup and pour over the mix before beating everything together. Cover the bowl and place into the fridge to firm up for about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
- Using a 5cm pastry cutter as a guide, take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and dollop into the ring, placed directly onto the lined baking sheets. Smooth off the top with the back of your spoon and lift the rings up. Repeat this step until the tray is full – I fit 12 on each tray.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the biscuits have turned a slight golden colour. Remove from the oven and allow the biscuits to firm up on the trays for 10 minutes before lifting them onto a wire rack to cool fully.
- Category: Biscuits
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: Mince Pie Biscuits, Mince Pie, Biscuits, Cookies, Fortnums, Fortnum and Mason, Recipe, Christmas, Christmas Biscuits, Christmas Cookies, Festive, Baking