Merry Christmas, readers! Thought I’d try my hand at something seasonal, given the – you know – season. As luck would have it, a friend recently introduced me to my new favourite Christmas food: mincemeat treats.

This is a much more appetising name than the one I used when I couldn’t remember what they were supposed to be called, which was mince sticks. Or the alternative we tried for a while, mincey twizzlers. Basically they’re mincemeat – which isn’t meat at all of course, for the non-English audience, but a sugary mixture of raisins and candied peel, usually found in pies – wrapped instead in little rolls of filo pastry.

I am not brave enough to make my own filo pastry, nor am I even sure it’s possible, given its paper-thinness. However, it wasn’t as easy as I anticipated to find some at the supermarket. Are there lots of things that need to be made at Christmas with filo pastry? Because everywhere we looked was sold out. In the end, we managed to locate a few boxes stacked right at the back of the freezer section. Unable to squash a panic-buyer’s impulse, I bought two. I’m sure it’ll come in useful one of these days.

The recipe gives instructions to make your own mincemeat, and I probably would have done, if I hadn’t already crammed today full of last-minute Christmas errands. I bought a jar, and as they’d run out of Tesco’s own, had to buy some exceedingly fancy stuff that looked so prettily old-fashioned I kept coming over all Victorian.

Ooh! Unhand me, Sir!

With jar and pastry in hand, we were ready. The assembly was probably more stressful than it needed to be, as I became terribly paranoid about the pastry drying out (you cover it with damp kitchen roll to prevent this). It was completely fine, of course, so no need to hurry. You cut the pastry into little squares, brush with melted butter, add a line of mincemeat down one edge, then roll into little tubes. Brush the tops with the remaining butter, and put in the oven.

Unfortunately the filo pastry box we bought had much more pastry than we actually needed. We got twenty little sticks out of half the packet. I’ve put the other half in the fridge, and have a vague idea that you’re supposed to make canapés with it, but without an immediately pressing need for canapés, I’m a little puzzled as to what to do with it.

Anyway, the twizzlers – sorry, treats – are yummy. I’ve a feeling I went overboard with the butter, as they’re just a touch greasier than I would’ve wanted, but once they’ve dried out a bit, they’ll be fine. The only major error I made was not putting them on greaseproof paper in the oven: the mincemeat dribbled out in places, and welded the little sticks to the tray with all the solidity of molten rock.  I managed to ease them out eventually by rolling them with my fingers, but left quite a lot of unsalvageable rubble at the bottom.

Deliciousness: Crispy, fruity, buttery loveliness. Much better than pies.

Complexity: With only three ingredients, the assembly is quick and easy. Don’t worry about the pastry drying out, because it won’t.

Washing-up pile: Four items. Though some will need a soaking (see below).

Casualities: My baking tin, as I suspect the sugary lava may never shift. Is it too late to put a new baking sheet on my Christmas list?

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