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Mince Pies

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Mince Pies play such a big part in a typical Christmas.  My grandma made them every year and while she always made her pastry by hand, she only ever used a jar of mincemeat.  I start to bake mince pies at home from the first week in December.  While my kids love the taste of them, they love making them even more with this easy recipe.  They make gorgeous presents wrapped up in florist cello-wrap and tied up with a festive ribbon.

Since I bake alot, I find my muffin tins have the perfect size hollows for filling deep mince pies.  If you have a shallower tins, be careful not to fill them to the brim as the mincemeat filling will expand while being baked.  Make them in advance and leave in the freezer uncooked and bake them when you need them.

There are lots of ways you can add your own signature to mincemeat. You can add some extra crunch with toasted chopped hazelnuts or bitter orange marmalade to the mincemeat.  Even a dash of cointreau or brandy!

Of course you can also use store bought all butter shortcrust pastry if you don't have time to make your own!

MINCE PIES                                                                                   Makes 12

Mince Pie Filling
1 Jar Sweet Mincemeat (eg Chivers brand)
Sweet Pastry
300g plain flour
150g cold butter, diced small
50g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
1 large egg
Equipment: Bun Tin, Rolling pin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan. You will also need a greased muffin or other baking tray with hollows and both a round and star shaped cookie cutter.
  2. To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a bowl.  Add the diced butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in icing sugar and salt.  With a dinner knife, work in the egg yolk then use your hands to bring it together to a firm dough (add a little water if it appears very dry to help the mixture come together into a ball). Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
  3. To fill the mince pies, divide the chilled pastry in half and roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface and use a 10cm cookie cutter to start stamping out pastry rounds pressing them gently into each muffin hollow, rolling out the second half pastry to fill the 12 hollows.
  4. Fill the lined muffin hollows with 1-2 tsp mincemeat to half filled (don't overfill them).  Reroll and stamp out star shaped lids with the remaining pastry and place a star on the top of the mincemeat filling (or if you want to make closed mince pies, stamp out a round of pastry for the top and glaze with egg for a golden colour).
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden in colour (or remove from the oven once the mixture starts to bubble up around the edges or else they go too sticky resulting in a chewy texture).
  6. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.
   
   
   
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