It’s the night before Christmas, and all through the house, my family are making merry. We’re enjoying a relaxing Christmas Eve. Only one thing could spoil the night – our traditional fight over the perfect mince pie.
I love Christmas Eve – it’s one of the best bits of Christmas. My family is all together, and we’re making the most of a lovely Christmassy reunion. Then my mum pipes up: ‘Who fancies a mince pie?’
A silence descends. There’s awkwardness, a bit of foot-shuffling, and a couple of mumbled hmm’s. Eventually my sister asks the dreaded question: ‘Are they home made?’
There are those, like my mum and me, who think you can’t beat a home-made pie: slightly battered and misshapen, perhaps, but more Christmassy because they’ve been made with love. My sister is head of the rival camp: those who won’t touch home-made mince pies with a 12-foot candy cane.
It’s all in the pastry
As the keen bakers among us know, it’s impossible to make mince pie pastry that’s soft and sweet and shortbread-y like the pies you get in the shops. When I’ve tried I’ve ended up either with rock-solid chunks of something akin to cardboard or a half-burned half-soggy mess.
Even when my mince pies look like something out of Delia’s recipe book, they still taste somewhat… well, amateur. I’d be ashamed to leave one by the fireplace for Father Christmas to critique – he’d probably prefer the carrot we leave out for Rudolph.
And for my sister these amateur mince pies just aren’t good enough. She goes for taste over tradition every time, and if I throw a party and proudly announce that I’ve made my own, she’ll sigh and produce a packet of pristine shop-bought ones.
No matter what my sister thinks, I’ll get the rolling pin out and make my own mince pies. They might be rubbish, tasteless, poor imitations of their shop-bought cousins, but they’re Christmassy, damn it, and that’s what matters to me.
Do you make your own Christmas food? Or do you go for the shop-bought pies, puddings and cakes? I won’t judge you, I promise – as long as you assure me you make your own stuffing.
What sort of mince pie do you prefer?
Home-made (52%, 90 Votes)
Shop-bought (27%, 46 Votes)
I don't like mince pies (22%, 38 Votes)
Total Voters: 177