Friday, December 13th, 2013
I love Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year. When it comes to the food, turkey and Christmas cake I can take or leave (I’d much rather have goose and a Bûche de Noël), but mince pies are non-negotiable. Can you believe I have friends who’ve never had a mince pie?! Yes, they’re Canadian, but even so..
I made these last time I was at home for reading week, using my mum’s homemade mincemeat. If you haven’t got homemade stuff then Waitrose do some really good stuff.
These outdo the ones you can get from the supermarket by far. The pastry is buttery and flakey with just a teeny kick of citrus and the filling is perfect, although maybe I’m a little bit biased.
To make 24 you need:
150g unsalted butter
350g plain flour
The zest of 1 orange (make sure it’s unwaxed!)
1 jar of mincemeat
1 beaten egg
You’ll also need a cupcake tin and two round or fluted pastry cutters, one 7cm and on 6.5cm. If you haven’t got pastry cutters draw circles on baking paper and use these as a template for cutting you circles, they just won’t be as neat.
Start off by cutting your butter into cubes and chuck it in a bowl with your flour and salt.
Rub it together (use the tips of your fingers and thumbs) until you have what looks like bread crumbs.
Mix in your orange zest and add a dash of water. Stir it all together, everything should start to come together. Keep adding water and stirring until the pastry has come together and formed a ball. Be careful you don’t add too much water though. You’ll get mince pies with soggy bottoms, which no one wants…
Pop your pastry in the fridge to chill for about half an hour. While your pastry is in the fridge, grease your tin and cut strips of baking paper about ten centimeters long and a couple of centimeters across. Lay these in the individual places where your pies are going to go. It makes it so much easier to get the pies out of the tin once they’re cooked! Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
After half an hour, dust your work surface with a little bit of flour and roll out your pastry. Try to get it to about half a centimetre thick. Cut 24 of the larger circles and 24 of the small ones. Don’t worry if you have to roll your pastry out a couple of times. As long as you don’t handle it loads it’ll be fine.
Carefully lift the larger circles into the tins and add a teaspoon or so of mincemeat in each space.
Add a smaller circle and brush each pie with a little bit of beaten egg.
Pop your pies into the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, they should be a beautiful golden brown when they’re done.
Take your pies out of the oven and make sure you resist the temptation to dig in straight away. They’re going to be hot! Pop them on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before stacking them high and covering with a snow storm of icing sugar.
What’s your favourite Christmas treat?