Mince Pies

Since it is now December, I feel it is only right to start doing some Christmas baking; this weeks bake is mince pies! I love mince pies, they are brilliant on a winter’s night with a cup of tea, they really get you in the festive spirit. I have never made pastry before so this was a bit of change; I was initially going to make small tiny mince pies but the dough was too sticky and difficult to shape into the smaller tart tin. The recipe is Paul Hollywood’s, I didn’t want to risk adding my own twist on this as it would have probably gone wrong. They do look a tad messy but I think I’m going to have to accept that homemade mince pies are going to look a bit rustic.

Ingredients for the sweet pastry

165g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

25g ground almonds

120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed

55g caster sugar

1 medium egg

Ingredients for prep

butter for greasing

flour for dusting

1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk, for glazing

Ingredients for filling

410g jar mincemeat

155g tin mandarin orange segments, drained

1 dessert apple, unpeeled cored and finely chopped

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Method

  1. Put the mincemeat into a bowl and add the mandarin orange segments, apple chunks and lemon zest. Stir well and leave to macerate for several hours or preferably overnight.
  2. For the pastry, combine the flour and ground almonds in a large bowl, then add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Then stir in the sugar.
  3. Break in the egg and work it into the mixture using your hands, the mixture should come together to form a soft, sticky dough.
  4. Shape the dough into a rough ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten the ball using your hands creating a thick disc. Leave this to chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 200ÂșC and lightly butter a 12-hole muffin tin(preferably a shallow one, I used one that was too deep).
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface until it’s 2-3mm in thickness. Then using a round 10cm cutter, cut 12 discs to line the muffin tins. Then I used a roughly 6cm star cutter and cut out 12 stars (any shape roughly that big will work well). Re-roll the pastry as necessary.
  7. Put about 3 tsp of the mincemeat mixture into each pastry case (this will depend on the size of the cases but make sure you don’t fill it too high)
  8. Brush the stars with and place on the top of the mincemeat before brushing with a little more egg wash and a sprinkle of granulated brown sugar.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and bubbling. Leave the pies to cool in the tin for a while before lifting out to finish cooling on a wire rack.

These mince pies are great served cold or heated up again.

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