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Homemade Mince pies - easy to make Christmas treat for December

Perfect with cream or brandy butter

Moreish Mince pies - a staple part of the Christmas festivities

Mince Pies
Makes 12-18

Ingredients

Mincemeat
125 g raisins
125 g sultanas
125 g dried cranberries
100 g chopped candied peel
150 g grated eating apples
100 g flaked almonds
200 g light muscovado sugar
75 g beef or vegetarian suet
zest and juice 2 oranges and 2 lemons
3 tbsp brandy
½ nutmeg, freshly grated

Sweet pastry
150 g cold unsalted butter,
cubed
250 g plain flour
50 g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
Approx. 15ml ice-cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of fine salt

Icing sugar to dust

Method

  • Mincemeat: Tip all the ingredients into a large bowl and stir well to evenly combine. Cover with a plate and leave overnight for the fruit to plump up in the juices and brandy.
  • The next day: Stir thoroughly and either use or put into jars to keep for later – these make fabulous little presents for friends and neighbours who will appreciate the effort you’ve made.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C or gas mark 6.
  • Sweet Pastry: Put the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl* and mix.
  • Add the cubed cold butter and lightly rub the into the flour using your fingertips until a breadcrumb consistency is achieved.
    Mix egg yolks and water together and stir into the flour mixture with a flat knife to bring together into large clumps. 
    Tip the whole lot onto your work surface and lightly bring together into a ball. 
    Gently form into a flattish disc, wrap in cling film and put into the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes. 
    At this stage your pastry could be kept in the fridge for three days or frozen for about a month (allow time to defrost before trying to roll).
  • (*alternatively put the butter, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse until it forms little pieces about the texture of breadcrumbs, then add the egg yolks and water and pulse again until the dough starts to come together – continue as per the recipe above).
  • Roll out your pastry on a lightly-floured surface to the thickness of about 3mm (try not to over flour, as it will make the dough heavy).
  • Using a suitable pastry cutter, cut out 12-18 pastry discs, and the same number of stars to top our mince pies with.
  • Gently push the pastry into the bottoms of a 12-hole muffin tin, then spoon about half a tablespoon into each pastry case. Top with a pastry star and chill again in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and gently bubbling. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin and dusting with icing sugar.

TOP TIP: ** Mince pies are a must to get into the Christmas spirit. If you don’t have time to make your own mincemeat, it is perfectly acceptable to ‘doctor’ a good jar of supermarket mincemeat. Our favourite things to add would be a good squeeze of lemon and some lemon zest – or orange; flaked almonds; dried sour cherries or cranberries – soaked in brandy; more brandy, Disaronno or Cointreau – or any of your favourite liqueurs. You can mix this all up now and put in jars in the fridge. If you make this up now, the harsh alcohol flavour will mellow creating a lovely rich filling for your very own unique mince pies at Christmas. You can make up batches of our sweet pastry for the freezer – ready to roll out and fill your mince pies when you need them.

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