Mince pies: A foolproof recipe

Mince pies. Photograph: Harry Weir

Mince pies. Photograph: Harry Weir

Sat, Dec 1, 2018, 06:00

   
  • Makes: 12
  • Cooking Time: 60 mins
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Irish

Ingredients

  • For the mincemeat filling
  • 125g raisins
  • 125g sultanas
  • 50g currants
  • 50g butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced small
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • Brandy, Cointreau, apple or lemon juice (optional)
  • For the sweet pastry
  • 300g plain flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 50g icing sugar, sieved
  • 150g cold butter, diced small
  • 1 large egg (plus extra for glazing pastry)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. You will also need to grease a muffin tray (or other baking tray with hollows). You will need a round and star shaped cookie cutter.

To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in icing sugar and salt. With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolk, then use your hands to bring it together to a firm dough (add a few drops of cold water if it appears very dry to help the mixture come together into a ball). Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.

For the mincemeat, weigh out all the ingredients and transfer to a medium heavy based saucepan. Heat over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally as the butter melts. Simmer gently for 30 minutes. The mixture will be dense. (If you are making a large batch, and it dries out, add in more orange juice.)

Divide the chilled pastry in half and roll the pastry out to 2mm thickness on a lightly floured work surface and use a 10cm cookie cutter to start stamping out pastry rounds pressing them gently into the greased muffin hollows, rolling out the second half of the pastry to fill all the hollows (and star lids).

Half-fill the pastry shells (1-2tsps of filling is plenty). Reroll the pastry and stamp out star shapes. Brush the pastry stars lightly with egg glaze, then place them on the top of the mincemeat in each pie.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden in colour and remove from the oven once the mixture only just starts to bubble up around the edges (if they bubble for too long, the filling gives a chewy texture).

Serve slightly warm dusted with icing sugar.

Variation
Try making mince pies with puff pastry. Simply stamp out rounds, use the tip of a knife to score an inner circle, add mincemeat in the centre, brush the exposed pastry rim with egg glaze before baking.