The General wallowed in his leather wingback armchair as awaited his manservant. The light from the fire undulated over his uneven features like restless waves before a storm.
"Sir?" sighed Heston, wearyness creeping into his voice.
"These mints," the General waved the offending box of after dinner mints menacingly at Heston, "are terrible. Just terrible."
"They are what you asked for, Sir," reasoned Heston, raising his eyebrows with incredulity.
"Yes, yes" said the General, waving his sherry dismissively, "but, and this is the point, they are entirely unsatisfying. How is a man supposed to maintain his manner with such meagre mints?" He flaccidly held one of the mints at arms length like a used teabag.
"Might I suggest that I have cook fetch some mince pies from the kitchen?" intoned Heston deliberately, with the patience of a man who has weathered the moods of his master before.
"Mince pies?!" spluttered the General splenetically, sending spots of spittle towards Heston which blossomed on his grey trousers as dark phlegmatic blobs. "You know spiced dishes play havoc with my bowels! Go fetch that dough-puncher from the intertubes and have him fashion a more suitable treat!
And so, After Eight Mints Pies were commissioned.
- Lots of dark chocolate
- Fondant (that you've already prepared!)
- Peppermint food flavouring
- Peanut butter
- Bain-marie for chocolate melting
- Cup-cake cases
- Cup-cake tray
- Greaseproof paper
- Ceramic balls
First we melted a load of chocolate.
Method 1: Coating inner-surface of cup-cake case
We tried a number of methods of making the mints pies - the first of these was to coat the inner surface of a cup-cake case with chocolate and let it set.
We pushed it down into the tray to give the pie some shape.
Hmm, the result was quite pretty, but not really what we were going for.
Method 2: Peanut butter cup
The edges of the paper were covered in chocolate and the centre left clear for shaping by some ceramic balls . . .
. . . this didn't really work.
Method 4: The displacement method
Here we used some grease-proof paper and yet more balls to displace chocolate and leave a fracture for fillings.
Time to get some fondant in to form a soft centre.
Some of the fondant was mixed with half a teaspoon of peppermint flavouring to make that classic refreshing after eight middle cream. This was then put into the centre of our dark chocolate pie.
Covering the top gives our sweet that mince pie look.
Breaking it open reveals the deliciously sugary core!
There is, however, something incredibly inelegant about this method with the resultant chocolate coating being just a bit too thick.
Lucy comes up with the idea to coat the outer surface of the cup-cake cases.
Initial results are encouraging with the chocolate forming a uniform, well shaped layer over the paper.
This initial shell is thickened by applying successive layers of chocolate and chilling to make each layer set. Peeling away the paper reveals some perfect chocolate containers!
Apart from one which develops a hole. Whoops!
We made a peanut-butter cup and an after-eight mints pie.
Topping with chocolate, once again, completes the effect!
Mmm, a delicious chocolate treat with the spirit of Christmas!
And what of the General? He never did get to taste these minty delights for he was called up for one last mission in Siam at Her Majesty's command. We never heard from him again . . .