Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mince Pies

In case you hadn't noticed its getting ever closer to Christmas. Now for some reason I can't help but enjoy being a bit of a grinch this time of the year but that doesnt stop me from enjoying a nosh on a mince pie or ten. So, my first baking post shall be dedicated to the traditional mince pie.

The ingredients you will need:


450 g Bramley apples chopped small
225 g shredded suet (feel free to use the vegetarian one if you prefer)
350 g raisins
225 g sultanas
225 g currants
225 g chopped candied peel
350 g soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 2 oranges
grated zest and juice 2 lemons
4 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
½ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons brandy
Some ingredients call for putting chopped almonds in but I personally do not like nuts in my food.

This recipe make 3lbs so you have plenty to store away.

Short crust pastry

3½ oz (95 g) lard
3 oz (75 g) butter
12 oz (350 g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
a little milk
a pinch salt
Sugar to sprinkle

Equipment needed:

Pastry cutters
Muffin/fairy cake tin
Maybe a glass of vino to help things a long.

Makes about 18 depending on how thin your pastry is rolled.

Starting with the mincemeat you will need to begin a day or so earlier.

Simply put all the ingredients a part from the brandy into a bowl and mix well. Then you will need to cover it and leave it overnight or for 12 hours.
After this time, it needs to go in the oven on a very low light, gas one/140 degrees for 3 hours.
Take it out of the oven and leave to cool remembering to mix it from time to time to help mix the fat as it hardens. Once completely cooled you can add the brandy. Feel free to add more of less depending on your love of the stuff.

Finally, put it into sterilised jars. (To sterilise the jars, just wash them, then place them in boiling water for 5 minutes and allow to drip dry) The mixture should be kept in a cool dark cupboard and can last a couple of years.

For the pastry, sift the four and salt and then put it into a food processor with the lard and butter. Switch it on and stop when it becomes a crumbly mixture. If you do not have a food processor use your fingers to crumble the mixture so it looks like this:

Then add 3 tablespoons of water to help it combine. You may need a little extra if you find it is not forming a ball. Once you have done this put it in a bowl, cover and place it in the fridge for about half an hour.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and start to roll it out thinly (put a bit of flour on your board or rolling pin to help if it sticks). Using your pastry cutters do your mince pie bases, place them into your tin. Fill with the mincemeat and then add your pie tops. You can add a round top or if you wish, cut out a shape to place on top. I have used a star cutter.
Finally, brush the tops with milk and I like to then sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. If you use a round top do be sure to poke a hole in it to allow air to escape.

Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes on gas mark 6/220 degrees.

Once cooked leave them to cool before taking them out of the tin as they are quite crumbly and the heat will make them fall a part.

It is at this point you take a mince pie and a glass (large) of port and relax......

Inspiration taken from Delia Smith with some aspects of the recipe changed.