Spalding’s Ayscoughfee Hall Cafe serves up a mince pie brownie – and we gave it a try
Mince pies are really not food you would traditionally associate with February – but a popular Spalding cafe put a new twist I couldn’t resist on this festive classic.
Yuletide feasts might seem a lifetime ago after the long diets of dreary January but the creative team at Ayscoughfee Hall Cafe proved that the is mince pie is not just for Christmas – by adding a delicious chocolate brownie lid.
The Churchgate cafe has become a foodie’s favourite and scooped numerous awards since it was taken over by Ellie Clay more than four years ago – and her talented mum Sarah has been cooking up a storm with her delicious mince pie brownie.
The cafe, which is a gold seal Good Food Award winner, has a reputation for its delicious cakes which are baked by Sarah – and she was inspired to cook up the mince pies to use up some leftover jars of mincemeat.
Sarah said: “I love mincemeat whether it is Christmas or not.
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“I had made some pastry and didn’t have enough for the lids so I wondered what I could put it with.
“I had made some brownies and there was a bit leftover so I thought why not?
“I have made it before as a tart but this time I thought I would try some individuals to see if it worked.”
Cafe owner Ellie – who recommends serving up the mince pie brownie warm – said the sweet treat has sold really well since it was been on the menu.
She said: “I bit into thinking it was going to be a brownie and it was really good.”
Sarah joined the team when Ellie took over the cafe in the gardens of the historic hall and is now the number one baker – and her cakes are going down a storm with the customers.
Popular favourites include rocky road along with the traditional bread pudding but Sarah has also tickled the customers’ taste buds with a rhubarb and custard blondie. Plus the team make their own jams as well.
Sarah, who had taken over the baking from her daughter, said: “I love it.”
Brownies have been a mainstay of the cafe’s cake selection since Ellie took over – and it is a labour of love.
Ellie said: “It is a high maintenance recipe that you have to do by hand. You can’t use a mixer. Your arm is completely dead by the end of the process as you have to whisk up the eggs white and sugar for 20 minutes before you can fold in the chocolate.”
Mince pie brownie was love at first sight – my verdict
February is the month of luuurve as it includes Valentine’s Day – and boy have I found a new crush!
Don’t bother buying me flowers or chocolates this Valentine’s Day (not that my chances are ever particularly high) – the £3.50 mince pie brownie is now definitely the root to my heart.
I love brownies and mince pies – both are definitely on my favourite cakes list on their own - but combining them together is not something that I would have ever thought of doing. However, it works so well.
When you first bite into the cake, you are seduced (apologies reader for Poundworld Nigella Lawson routine, but this is a love affair) with wonderful richness of the chocolate brownie, which just melts in your mouth.
But then you chew a little and the full flavour of that sumptuous fruit comes through and combines so well with the chocolate.
And it doesn’t finish there, as the flavours keep rolling in with delicious pastry at the bottom – and no sign of a soggy one!
I followed Ellie’s advice to try it warm and it really worked as the brownie lid became a little gooey and lovely.
I perhaps should not admit this publicly but when moving the knife a little of the fruit and brownie ended up on the floor and my immediate reflex was to eat it, such was my desire not to waste a single morsel of this delicious treat.
And here is another confession of what a poor example of a human being I am. My promise to my long-suffering boss, Andrew Brookes, that I would save him half of this delicious cake will sadly prove empty, like so many of my promises. Once I had started eating the mince pie brownie, I could not summon the restraint to stop eating. So here’s a public apology – please don’t sack me!
All in all I would recommend the mince pie brownie, which has now made it onto my favourite cakes list alongside a cherry Bakewell and a Victoria sponge.
If you are looking for a tasty treat this February that won’t break the bank – pop along to Ayscoughfee Hall Cafe and try one. Well worth every penny of the £3.50 price tag – and hurry, get them while stocks last (or before I go back for more!).