Monday, 13 December 2010
Easy Peasy Mince Pies
I love homemade mince pies, shop bought ones are always disappointing, too much filling and horrible dry pastry. Mince pies are also very satisfying to make, they seem like a big achievement but they can be really easy.
I was given a jar of homemade mincemeat which went into these pies, it was much lovelier than shop bought - not too sweet, boozy and well spiced.
The pastry contains no liquid, just butter, flour and sugar. A lot of butter, which is what makes it stick together. The resulting pastry case is very close to shortbread but crisper and sweeter. I think these took me just over an hour to make, most of the time was spent because I had to bake in two batches.
They are not the prettiest mince pies ever, not neat but what I like to call 'rustic'. They taste brilliant though, which is what matters!
I played around with the mincemeat, the first batch had pure mincemeat but the second I added some chopped hazlenuts and grated apple (spotted that tip on Kirstie and Phil's Christmas) which added lovely texture and also meant I could eke out the mincemeat more.
Makes approximately 16 - 18 mince pies
adapted from BBC Good Food
225g very cold butter
350g plain flour
100g granulated or caster sugar
1 jar (about 300g) mincemeat
egg or milk to brush over tops
Add your flour to a large mixing bowl, then grate in all of your butter. Grating cold butter means that you have finer strands in your flour which allows you to incorporate it better. Rub into the flour til you have a texture like fine crumble. Mix in your sugar and start to knead into a dough, the butter will be warmer now and so you will be able to work into a dough. Try not to add any liquid as your pastry will shrink in the oven later on.
Once it starts to form knead briefly and it is ready to use.
Preaheat oven to 200c (180c fan) or gas mark 6.
Lightly grease a nonstick cup tin, you don't have to but I wasn't going to trust my tin entirely after last year!
To form the bottoms you can either form walnut sized pieces of dough, flatten and then spread out into each cup to form a base. Or you can roll out the dough carefully (using plenty of flour) and use pastry cutters. I found the pastry cutters a better method although a little more time consuming. Form tops using pastry cutters or small sized balls squashed out.
You can also go for a lattice effect (which may look neater than mine, I am sure) or top with chopped nuts - both of which are delicious.
Brush the tops with beaten egg or milk, bake for 20 minutes til golden brown.
Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before taking them out of the tins.