Traditional Mince Pies
I will always cherish fond memories of my mother's and my grandmother's cooling trays piled high with freshly baked mince pies on Christmas Eve, ready to be packed into tins and brought out whenever friends popped in for Christmas drinks. The following is the traditional family recipe.
Makes 24 (18 if using 1lb/450g mincemeat)
|1¼ lb (560 g) mincemeat|
|12 oz (350 g) plain flour|
|3 oz (75 g) lard|
|3 oz (75 g) butter|
|pinch of salt|
|For the top:|
|a little milk|
|Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).|
|Need help with conversions?|
|You will also need one (or two) trays of 2½ inch (6 cm) patty tins, one fluted 3 inch (7.5 cm) pastry cutter and one 2½ inch (6 cm) cutter.|
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas.
Make up the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rubbing the fats into it until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then add just enough cold water to mix to a dough that leaves the bowl clean.
Leave the pastry to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, then roll half of it out as thinly as possible and cut it into two dozen 3 inch (7.5 cm) rounds, gathering up the scraps and re-rolling.
Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, this time using the 2½ inch (6 cm) cutter.
Now grease the patty tins lightly and line them with the larger rounds. Fill these with mincemeat to the level of the edges of the pastry. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry with water and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges.
Brush each one with milk and make three snips in the tops with a pair of scissors. Bake near the top of the oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown.
Cool on a wire tray and sprinkle with icing sugar.
When cool, store in an airtight container.
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Seriously, these are made in minutes, thanks to ready-made pastry and mincemeat. You can even freeze them and pop them in the oven straight from the freezer: perfect when unexpected guests drop in over Christmas!
Those who find pastry difficult to make will love this recipe, where everything is put into a food processor for quick and easy pastry so you still have the superior flavour of home-made, but without the hassle!
This recipe is a lighter take on the Christmas pudding theme. You can make them a few hours ahead, and re-heat in a medium oven for about five minutes before serving.
Here is another festive dessert that makes good use of home-made mincemeat. Serve it fairly warm, with Cumberland Rum Butter to melt through the lattice.
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