Mince Pie Project: the £500 mince pies - with a hint of bacon

Date:13-12-2013 08:58:17 read:1

Mince Pie Project: the £500 mince pies - with a hint of bacon

With less than 24 hours to go until the Mince Pie Project's auction closes, a box of chef Neil Rankin's bacon and butterscotch mince pies have scored a bid of £500

Neil Rankin's butterscotch, bourbon and bacon mince pies have received a bid of £500
Neil Rankin's butterscotch, bourbon and bacon mince pies have received a bid of £500 Photo: KATE BEARD

Forget traditional mince pies. Chef Neil Rankin's bacon, bourbon and butterscotch varieties are proving most luctrative in the Mince Pie Project's charity auction. With less than 24 hours to go until the auction closes, a bid of £500 has been received for a box of 30 of these delicacies - almost £17 per mince pie.

Rankin, who runs Smokehouse in Islington, admits the pies are perhaps that most unhealthy thing he's ever made. But they were given a big thumbs up by the staff in his restaurant, which prompted him to donate them to the auction. "So far, everyone who has tried them finds them absolutely delicious," he says.

Faced with competition from 99 other top chefs and their mince pies, Rankin decided to branch away from the traditional concept and use buttery puff pastry and a mincemeat containing butterscotch, bourbon and bacon. "I just love bacon and I think it goes really well with sweet things," he says.

The competition isn't over yet though. Chef Angela Hartnett has also received a £500 bid for her pies and Adam Byatt, who runs Trinity in Clapham, is top of the leaderboard with a bid of £130 for his Chelsea bun-style pies and £1,200 in raffle tickets. The total proceeds, which will be donated to charity Kids Company, currently stand at £23,027.19.

Having fumbled my way through the most simple Nigel Slater mince pie recipe last night, I'm guessing Rankin's receipe (see below, it looks pretty complicated) is somewhat out of my league. I'd be much better off buying a raffle ticket - or placing a bid - in the hope that he will make them for me. "I've decided to throw in a bonus prize of a butchery and meat smoking lesson and a dinner for six at my restaurant," he adds. So it's not such an expensive box of mince pies after all.

Don't despair if you miss out, though, as Rankin recommends M&S's mini mince pies as being a respectable alternative. "The only problem with shop bought mince pies is they don't contain enough booze but you can always doctor them yourself," he says.

For more information or to place a bid see The Mince Pie Project. The auction closes at midday tomorrow, Friday 13 December

Neil Rankin's bacon, bourbon and butterscotch mince pies recipe

For the bacon mince meat

8 apples peeled, cored, and chopped small

450g bacon, cut into small lardons cooked down

All the reserved bacon fat form the pan

300g cup sultanas

100g dried cherries

3 tablespoons soft dark brown sugar

150ml cup eagle rare bourbon

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix all the above together and keep in a jar for at least 24 hours. 3 days is better.

Bacon and cinnamon sugar.

4 rashers of bacon cooked and dried in a low oven (100oC) over night.

200g caster sugar

10g cinnamon powder.

Blitz all of the above in a blender, pass through a sieve and reserve.

For the bourbon butterscotch

500g butter

500g soft light brown sugar

500ml double cream

As much bourbon as you dare

Melt the butter with the sugar then mix in the cream and the bourbon. I recommend lots of bourbon.

For the kouign amann pastry

15g fresh yeast

500g all-purpose flour

a pinch of sea salt

250ml water

375 g bakers butter (high quality salted)

The night before add the yeast to the water (warm from the tap and mix with the flour and salt. Divide in to 2 and Leave over night in the fridge in a oiled bowls covered in cling film.


Preheat oven to 170oC

Beat out the butter between two sheets of greaseproof. Take out the dough from the fridge and quickly knock it back and roll into a flat rectangle. Lay the butter in the middle, sprinkle with a little bacon sugar and fold in like a book. Roll out to the length of the board and fold. If its warm cool it in the fridge for 10 mins.

Take out and cool out once again this time sprinkle with more sugar. Fold. And repeat this twice. Refrigerate it again for 10 mins.

Take out and roll into a large rectangle and sprinkle with some of the mincemeat (enough to cover but not completely you should see a lot of pastry. Cut strips 1inch wide and roll up. Butter a muffin tray, insert pies and bake for 15-20 mins until golden brown then leave to cool on a tray. Baste with butterscotch at least 3 times over an hour, the last time when cool.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013