A mince pie recipe for the week before Christmas.
This recipe uses my homemade mincemeat recipe, but feel free to use supermarket mincemeat if you don’t have time to make your own. The thing I really want to highlight here is this amazing pastry. It is the shortest, most buttery, yummy pastry I have ever tried. It is basically like shortbread. A few people have tried my mince pies over the recent days and asked for the recipe, so here it is.
We recently tried making mince pies like our Nan used to do it but they turned out really small (see below). She always used a basic shortcrust recipe with half butter, half lard (we are from Yorkshire!). I do love her pastry but I prefer this short, sweet one for mince pies. It even has the seal of approval from our family baker herself who called me to say how much she likes them. They must be good if she spent money on a phonecall.
I think it is easier than regular shortcrust as you don’t have to roll it out. The consistency is like plasticine or putty so you can easily mould it. It is so easy we used to get my chef’s kids helping us with these at Christmas in the restaurant (they volunteered, no child labour) and they loved making them.
I have found that the usual pastry shortfalls do not apply here. You can’t overwork it. Don’t worry about heat, it needs to be warm to be pliable. The worst batch I ever made were delicious but really crumbly. It was due to the pastry being too dry & cold & it was breaking up as I tried to form it in the tins.
Mince Pie Recipe
Ingredients (Makes 12):
Jar of mincemeat
200g Butter – cold from fridge (never margarine)
300g Plain Flour
100g Caster sugar
Milk for glazing
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. Grease your tins really well with butter.
2. Weigh out the butter & flour into a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Weigh out the sugar in a separate bowl & set aside.
3. Rub the butter into the flour and when it is all incorporated add the sugar and bring the pastry together. Do not add water.
4. This pastry is too short to roll out so you will need to press it into your tins. I use a golf ball sized piece for each one.
You can check the consistency by rolling a ball and pressing it flat between your palms. If it cracks a lot the pastry is too dry. At this point massage the ball of pastry and warm it with your hands and try again. It should be more malleable and crack less when you press it.
If it is still too dry either your hands are too cold and you should warm them or add a tiny amount of vegetable oil. I have only ever needed to do that once. Generally, some heat will melt the butter and make the pastry like putty in your hands.
5. Fill the cases with mincemeat. Fill them well and press the mixture in fairly tightly to remove any air pockets.
6. Now make the lids by rolling a smaller piece of pastry into a ball half the size from before and squeezing it between your palms to make a thin disk. Place this on top of the mincemeat, press it down and squeeze the edges to seal the pie. Take care with the sealing because if the mince spills out it is harder to remove them from the tin.
7. To trim the pies just use your finger to gently remove the excess. Glaze with a tiny bit of milk and pierce a hole in the top to allow steam to escape.
8. Bake them until golden brown. It takes about 25 minutes in my oven.
9. Do not attempt to remove the mince pies from their trays until almost cool. Wait at least half an hour as this pastry is fragile when hot. Then run a thin knife around the sides before turning them upside down.
I reckon it takes a good half hour to get these into the oven so if you’re really low on time you can still make homemade mince pies in no time. Using ready made ingredients like pre-rolled shortcrust pastry and ready-mixed mincemeat still gives great results. All you need to do then is cut out a large pie bottom, a smaller pie top, put them in the tin with a spoonful of filling and voila! Home-baked mince pies, the easy peasy 5 minute way. They will taste so much better than supermarket ones with that thick, tasteless pastry.