I’ll be honest here, to call this a recipe is a bit of an exaggeration. What it really is, is an idea. And it’s not even my own.
I’ve heard a lot of people talking recently about the new Heston Blumenthal Mince Pies, which are going on sale in Waitrose this year (this on the back of his hugely successful “hidden orange” Christmas Puddings last year). I haven’t tried them, but one of the things I’ve read is that they’ve been sprinkled with “pine infused sugar”. This seems to be a bit controversial – one comment made was “why would you want your mince pies to smell like toilet cleaner?” – but to me it seems to make perfect sense.
Food, you see, is about more than just the eating. A good meal is a feast for the eyes too, and a meal can be elevated from good to great by the sights, sounds and smells associated with it. It’s all about creating an atmosphere. And what is more atmospheric than Christmas, with the smell of the log fire burning, red wine sitting on the table and a pine tree sitting in the corner?
Just a few weeks ago I dabbled with creating my own Pine Needle Vinegar which – although I’ve only had a little taste – is full of character and smells amazing, so I can see how this pine needle infused sugar can work…
Recipe: Pine Needle Infused Sugar
Summary: Pine Infused Sugar brings a whole new sense of atmosphere when sprinkled onto mince pies. Give it a go!
- White Caster Sugar
- Handful of Pine Needles
- This one is really easy. Simply fill a jar with freshly picked pine needles (washed then dried well), then pour over the caster sugar.
- Leave for a few weeks – until Christmas if you’re starting now – then sprinkle over mince pies to enjoy.
The sugar might clump together a little as it absorbs some of the oil from the pine needles, but a quick shake should fix that.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12