Published on December 2nd, 2012 | by Gareth
Christmas Mince Pies
Apologies for the absence of posts from Humble Crumble, things have been a wee hectic with work. Back into it now though.
What Christmas wouldn’t be complete without mince pies? They have long been traditional dessert fare in Britain and it just doesn’t feel right without them, despite the fact that its 35degrees C – el scorchio! Now, after many years I have managed to get my mum to share her recipe. My mum’s mince pies has been a family favourite for as long as I can remember and as yet I haven’t found a bought mince pie that quite rivals them.
Sweet mincemeat (which was originally used real meat) has been made in Britain since the middle ages – when knights roamed the land in packs clad in the latest armour looking for something sweet and tasty or a buxom maiden. Sweet mince is made with dried fruit, spices and alcohol, this is a Christmas treat that I love either with brandy butter or custard – preferably cold custard.
- 225g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 150g unsalted butter (diced into small pieces)
- 15g caster sugar
- 15g ground almonds
- 50ml iced water
- 350g mincemeat
- 1 egg white
- Put the butter in the freezer for 20 minutes (probably won’t need to do this if you live in Britain)
- Put the butter, salt and flour into a blender and blend for 50 seconds. Best to do this in two short bursts to ensure the butter stays as cold as possible.
- The mixture should resemble fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the caster sugar and almond and blend for a further 20 seconds.
- Transfer the mix to a chilled mixing bowl.
- Add the iced water a teaspoon at a time and mix with a palate knife in between. When the mix starts to form larger lumps, (you may need less or more water).
- Using your fingertips as a whisk, gently draw the mix together, turning the mix as you go. The trick is to handle the dough as less as possible. I made a short video on ‘how to make pastry‘. It’s for savoury pastry, so use the ingredients about and follow the same technique.
- After a few turns around the bowl you should have a rough ball, lightly knead together to bring the last bits together.
- Cover with cling film, sorry glad wrap and put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Grease a cup cake tray and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- When the dough is ready roll out thinly and cut 12 large circles (7 1/2cm) and 12 smaller circles (6 1/2cm).
- Obvious though it may seem, use the larger circle as to line the tin.
- Put one dessertspoon full of the mincemeat in each pie, making sure the mincemeat goes to the edges.
- Seal with the smaller circles as the pie lid.
- Brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle a little caster sugar on the top. This will give it a nice sweet frosting.
- Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot with brandy butter, cream, ice cream, custard or all of the above.