I love these mince pies. Like most home-made foods, shop-bought versions really are nowhere near the real thing. These pies are aromatic, sweet and sticky and the mincemeat is encased in a flaky, buttery and crumbly pastry that cracks the moment you bite into it. The stodge of the supermarket mince pie just doesn't come close.
This is the way I make mince pies. Whether you choose your own home-made mincemeat or a jar from the shops is up to you, but I find I always have a jar in the cupboard waiting to be used up at moment's notice to make these. And for me, it's the pastry that makes all the difference.
The recipe is one adapted slightly from Gary Rhodes New British Classics - it is incredibly easy to work with, and is made extra rich with the addition of an egg and an extra yolk (freeze the leftover egg white to make meringues later). I've added less sugar than Gary's version - but it's a personal choice. I don't like my mince pie pastry to be too sweet. I also use my silicone muffin tray for these pies - they don't stick, it cools down quickly and is easy to clean afterwards. And finally, with all the stars that are around this time of year I like to top these with a little heart, what with it being the season of goodwill an' all. The recipe below will make around 24 mince pies.
- 225g plain flour
- pinch of fine salt
- 150g chopped butter
- 50g caster or icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 whole egg
- 1 x 400g jar mincemeat
- Sift flour and salt together. Rub in the butter until you get a breadcrumb texture. Tip in the sugar and stir to mix well.
- Add egg yolk and egg and work everything together until it comes together to a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm or put it in a plastic food bag and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Take out a silicone muffin tray and place on a baking sheet.
- After the pastry has had its resting time, dust the work surface with flour and roll out the pastry to around 5mm thick. Using the rim of a glass or a circular cookie cutter stamp out circles.
5. Push these gently down into the base of the muffin tray, pressing the pastry so that it comes up the sides of the indentations.
6. Take a teaspoon of mincemeat and drop these into each case. Re-roll the remaining the pastry and cut out small hearts. Drop these onto the top of the pies. Bake for around 10-15 mimutes until the mincemeat is bubbling and the pastry is golden and crisp.