Mincemeat is an incredibly easy thing to make and yet many find it daunting, instead reaching for various brands of jarred mincemeat on supermarket shelves. Similarly, with the pastry, often this is shied away from because of its perceived difficulty but fear not, this recipe will leave you with wonderfully merry mince pies in a deliciously short pastry case to enjoy throughout the festive season!
For the mincemeat: (makes approx 4 jars)
250g each of raisins, sultanas and currants (seedless)
80g mixed peel
Zest of ½ lemon and ½ a large orange
250g cooking apples, cored, peeled, and grated
130g slightly salted butter, softened to room temperature
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground allspice
250g soft brown sugar or muscovado sugar
For the pastry & pies:
375g plain flour
260g softened unsalted butter
120g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
Icing sugar (for dusting)
Preparation time 1hr 10 minutes Cooking time Mincemeat maturation time up to 3wks, pie cook time 20 minutes Serves Pastry allows for 12 people
In a large bowl, mix all the fruit together including the grated apples and zest of lemon and orange. Add in the butter and the spices and stir well.
In a small bowl slowly mix the sugar into the brandy until dissolved and then pour over the fruit mixture. Stir well again, cover with cling film and leave to stand overnight at room temperature.
The morning after, remove the cling film and give the fruit mixture a good stir once more. Split evenly into sterilised jars, seal and store until ready to use.
When you’re ready to make your mince pies have a jar of your homemade mincemeat ready. Preheat the oven to 200oC fan.
In large large, cool bowl sift in the plain flour and then break in softened lumps of butter. Lightly rub together the flour and butter into a breadcrumb consistency, careful not to overwork the mix. Add the caster sugar and one of the eggs and mix together, ideally with your hands, until just mixed.
On a lightly floured work surface place the pastry mix and start gently folding the mix until it comes together in a neat ball. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for 20mins.
While the pastry chills, prepare the pie trays. Muffin trays are preferable as they allow for a decent amount of mincemeat filling without leakage. Grease the muffin tray with butter and put to one side.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and lightly flour a large work surface. Split the pastry in to 2 equal parts. Roll one part of the pastry until approx. 3mm thick. Use a large round cutter to cut out the bases of your mince pies. Lay each base into the muffin tray.
Next place approx. 1tsp of mincemeat mix into each case. Beat the other egg then brush the edges of each pie with the beaten egg mix.
Now roll out the other half of your pastry mix, again to approx. 3mm thickness, and use a smaller cutter to make the lids for your mince pies. Press and seal the lids of the pies with finger tips, brush the remaining beaten egg over the top and use scissors to snip the top of the mince pies (allowing steam out).
Place in the preheated oven for 20mins until golden brown. When cooked, leave on a wire rack in the tin until completely cooled. Remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar before serving.
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