If you’ve been following me for a couple of weeks, you’ll already have my homemade mincemeat recipe, as well as a nice and easy sweet shortcrust pastry recipe. Now it’s time to put them together to make warm, comforting homemade mince pies. Trust me, if you’re expecting friends and family to drop in over the festive period, you’ll feel very smug when you present a plate of these to them with their coffee or mulled wine! They’re also lovely to take with you as a hostess gift if you’re dropping in somewhere for a visit.
And if you don’t like mincemeat (and if you haven’t been converted by my recipe yet) you could always use chopped apple and cinnamon or jam instead.
You will need:
1 batch sweet shortcrust pastry (or a packet of ready-made)
Around 24 tbsp of mincemeat (again, a jar of shop-bought would work)
A little butter to grease the tin
A sprinkle of icing sugar for each one
A shallow 12-hole tray
A rolling pin
A round biscuit/scone cutter plus a small star cutter (you can make a round pastry lid instead as you make a couple of holes in it to let the steam out, or another festive shape such as a Christmas tree, or send them out into the world topless and calm them tarts!) the round cutter is pretty essential, but if you’re clever, a glass and a knife would do the trick, just aim for circles big enough to line the bottom and sides of each hole.
1. Use a pastry brush to thinly butter each muffin tin hole, to make sure the pies can be removed later.
2. Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut in half. Place one half on a large piece of cling film and flatten out as much as you can with your hands. Put another piece of cling film on top and roll out to about 3mm thin for nice crisp pies (and it makes the pastry go further!). This can be time consuming and it requires a bit of muscle, but stick with it. And, trust me, the cling film method is light years easier than trying this with flour and a board!
3. Remove the top layer of cling film and cut out as many circles as you can. Try not to twist the cutter, as this will change the shape of your little rounds. Keep as close as you can when you do the next one, and that way you’ll make the most of your pastry sheet without having to re-roll too often. Remember you have the other half to roll-out as well.
7. Carefully spoon in the filling. About 1 and a half to 2 tablespoons of filling into each pie.
10. Pre-heat the oven to 170C fan and bake for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is starting to brown.
11. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the tin. The pastry should contract a little making this easier, but you can always help them out a little with a paring knife.