I’m pretty sure that posting Christmas recipes on a food blog after the event has passed qualifies to be the dictionary definition of “missed the boat”. Regardless, I’ve been doing a load of baking (and, more specifically, eating) since Christmas Eve and no-way am I going to let that pass without at least a few recipes finding their way here!
This is the first year that I’ve made my own mince pies but was so impressed with the results that I’ll definitely do it again. Sure, the ones pictured might not be the prettiest in the world but they sure taste good. Give it a go yourself and you’ll see what I mean; the pastry (for which I followed a recipe from the BBC Food website, with only a small tweak) is deliciously crumbly and so much better than you can buy in the shops.
You can either go the whole hog and make your own mince-meat and pastry, or do one or the other, as the mood suits. You shouldn’t be daunted at the thought of making your own pastry though as this one really is simple to do (and this coming from a self proclaimed pastry novice).
Mince Pie Recipe – Ingredients & Method
Makes 12 mince-pies.
For the mince-meat:
- 2 Large Cooking Apples, diced
- 110g / 4 oz shredded suet (I used Atora)
- 140g / 5oz sultanas
- 140g / 5oz raisins
- 140g / 5oz currants
- 140g / 5oz candied peel (mine came pre-chopped in a tub from Tesco)
- 175g / 6oz soft dark brown sugar
- 1/2 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- Juice & zest of 1 orange
- Juice & zest of 1 lemon
- 60 ml (about 1/4 cup) brandy
Simply combine all ingredients except the brandy into a heat proof bowl, cover and leave overnight. Next pre-heat your oven to 130 degrees c / 275 degrees f and put the bowl inside covered with foil for about 2 1/2 hours.
Stir occasionally as it cools then when cold stir in the brandy. Use immediately or store in jars until needed (it will keep for ages because of the alcohol content).
For the pastry (adapted from the BBC Food website):
- 200g plain flour, sifted
- 40g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 75g ground almonds
- 125g refrigerated unsalted butter, diced
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- milk, to glaze
Begin as if you are making a crumble mix; put the butter with the other dry ingredients into a bowl and rub with your finger tips until the ingredients are combined but retain a fine crumble texture. Once this is done add the egg and stir well to combine.
Form the pastry dough into a ball and wrap with cling film then put into the fridge for about 1 hour.
First take a 12 hole bun tin (my Yorkshire pudding tin worked great) and butter the holes very lightly. Pre-heat the oven to 200c / 400f.
Sprinkle flour over a work surface then push your dough ball into the middle of it, making it flat. Sprinkle more flour on top of the dough, then begin to roll it out with a rolling pin, until it is evenly about 1cm thick. If your rolling pin sticks simply sprinkle on a little more flour.
Cut the dough into circles with a fluted pastry cutter, appropriately sized for the holes in your tin. Place the circles in the tin holes and fill with a teaspoon or so of the mince-meat; try to resist the temptation to over-fill as they’ll leak. Now cut slightly smaller circles for the lids and place these on top of the individual pies, pressing the edges to form a seal.
Finally, brush each pie with milk and stab a small hole in the top of each one before placing the tin in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.
You’ll love them! Feel free to change the shape of the pastry lids to make something prettier if you like.