Mince Pies

22 Dec

You can’t have Christmas without mince pies!

Makes about 12*

Ingredients:
150g (6oz) plain flour
100g (4oz)  very cold unsalted butter, cubed
50g (2oz) icing sugar
Pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
411g jar of mincemeat
Granulated or caster sugar (optional)

Put the flour, butter, icing sugar and salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs and there are no big pieces of butter left in the mix (there’s a video here if you’re unsure of how to do this).

Add the egg bit by bit, stirring it through with a table knife after every addition. You want to add just enough that your dough starts to clump together, you might not need it all but hold on to any leftover – we’ll use it up later. It’s time to get your hands in now, gather the dough up and form it into a ball. Wrap your dough up in clingfilm and leave it to rest and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas6. Get your chilled pastry out of the fridge and roll it to a thickness of 2-3mm on a floured work surface. Using a round pastry cutter cut out 12 circles of pastry large enough to line the indentations of the tin. Gently press the pastry into each hole and then fill with mincemeat.

Cut 12 smaller circles out of the remaining pastry (you may have to gather it up and re-roll it). Put these on top of the mincemeat to form lids and press around the edges to attach the lid to the base. Using a sharp knife make a couple of small slits in the lid, this is for steam to escape from when the pies are baking. Brush the lids with the leftover beaten egg (if you don’t think you have enough to cover them all you can add a splash of milk to the egg). A nice optional extra is to sprinkle each tart with a little sugar before baking, it gives them a nice sparkle.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until beautifully golden. (And, as difficult as it is, leave them to cool before tucking in – mincemeat gets HOT in the oven).

*How many the recipe makes depends entirely on the tin you use. I use a fairly standard shallow bun tin like this and I get 12. You could use mini tart tins for bite size pies or a muffin tin for deeper pies, just remember if your pies are much smaller they’ll take a little less time to cook (check at about 15 minutes) and if they’re much bigger they’ll take a little longer and you might need extra mincemeat.

About the writer: Catherine is a biology geek by day and cake baker by night. When she’s not in the kitchen you’ll be able to find her writing, tending to her tomato plant or curled up reading one of her many cookbooks.

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