Rejoice, rejoice! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Chocolate for breakfast? No problem. Endless days and long nights spent grazing on cheese and crackers? Please, go ahead. Booze-guzzling whilst you’re still in your jim-jams? Oh do be my guest! It, as the great Noddy Holder likes to say, is Chriiiiiiistmas.
And that means festive food. It means bread sauce and roast turkey, prawn cocktails with marie rose sauce, pigs in blankets, cold cuts and pudding doused with brandy butter. It means loose trousers and pounding headaches. On the downside it means horrendous Iceland adverts. But wait, it also means mince pies. And this recipe, from the Goodfood website is the most reliable I’ve found. Pastry can be a pain. Too crumbly, too dry, too sweet, too soggy. Well trust me, if I can get this right then anyone can!
*225g unsalted butter, diced *350g plain flour *100g golden caster sugar *1 jar of mincemeat *1 egg, beaten *icing sugar to dust
1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and grease a 12 hole baking tin.
3. Then press small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole and spoon the mincemeat into the pies.
4. Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal them.
5. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
Although it’s my Christmas lunch at work tomorrow so I confidently predict that these pies won’t keep past 11am…
Happy baking and Merry Christmas! x