If you haven’t had a mince pie yet then it mustn’t be Christmas for you. Fair enough, for some people mince pies aren’t to their taste but for the vast majority of us that love to stock up on our favourite little snack, it most definitely feels and tastes like Christmas at last!
Truthfully I’ve never made mince pies, but since moving into my first home I’ve loved getting stuck into baking! And I’m hoping to do a few little classes in the new year to perfect some of my skills. I think mince pies are most definitely a baking must at Christmas time. Though I didn’t want to bake them on my own, it’s much more fun baking with the people you love. So I made my mum bake them with me, she gave me a few pointers with the pastry and we had lots of fun baking them, even much so that we’re going to do another batch at Christmas week.
For the pastry
- 340g Plain flour
- 110g Cold vegetable fat
- 60g Cold unsalted butter
- Milk for brushing
- Icing sugar for dusting
- 8 tbsp water
For the mince you can either follow the ingredients below or if you’ve got less time, there are many ready made jars of mince meat that taste just as fabulous in your local supermarket.
- 200g Stoned dates
- 200g Raisins
- 100g Sultanas
- 100g Currents
- 100g Dried apricots
- 200g Cooking apples
- 150g Walnuts
- 50g glacé cherries
- 50g Mixed peel
- 200g Shredded suet
- 250g Dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Large lemon
- 1 Large orange
- 75-150ml Brandy
Let’s get started
– Mincemeat –
It’s important to take into account that making the Mincemeat from scratch will take around 2 days as you need to let the mixture soak in all its goodness.
Firstly finely chop the dried fruit, make sure to chop the larger fruits into small pieces.
Put the dried fruits in a big bowl. Core and finely chop the apple and add to the bowl of dried fruit. Roughly chop the walnuts, cherries and mixed peel and add them to the bowl. Toss in the suet, sugar and spices, then grate in the zest of lemon and orange. Halve the citrus fruits and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Give it all a stir and make sure the mixture is evenly distributed.
Stir in enough brandy to give the Mincemeat a moist texture (you don’t want to see any of the mixture coming through the mix).
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 2 days on your work surface (no need to put in the fridge).
After 2 days have passed stir the mincemeat through again and you can transfer into sterilised jam jars (make sure to fill to the top to minimise exposure to the air). You can then keep the mincemeat for up to 3 years for all your annual mince pie bakes!
Make sure to keep 350g of mincemeat to one side for today’s pies!
– The pies –
Put the flour, fat and butter into a mixing bowl and rub them between your fingertips until the mixture has a crumbly texture. Drizzle in about 8 tablespoons of water until the mixture comes together to form a ball of dough. You may need to add more water depending on how well your dough is forming, little at a time is better. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius or gas mark 6. Lightly grease your muffin tin with butter.
Dust the work surface with flour, grab your dough from the fridge and unwrap and pop onto your dusted work surface. Roll out to a thickness of 3-4mm and cut out circles, each big enough to fit into your muffin tin.
Press the pastry firmly down into each greased hole and fill with a heaped teaspoon of Mincemeat. Ensure not to fill to the top as you don’t want the juices to overflow when baking.
Cut out Christmas shapes with the remaining pastry and lay them on top of the pies to make little cute lids.
using a pastry brush, brush the exposed pastry with milk. Pop them into the oven and bake for around 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and transfer them straight away onto a cooling rack as if left to cool in the muffin tin it’s very hard to get them out, trust me!
Dust with icing sugar and serve with a good ol’ cuppa. Enjoy x
( The recipe i followed was from ‘Tanya’s Christmas’ by Tanya Burr, though I have slightly changed some ingredients, for example adding more water to my dough) I would highly recommend this book as it gives you everything to make, bake and celebrate at Christmas time. You can purchase the book from Amazon for half price, would also make a lovely Christmas gift!