Absolutely Homemade 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.
Delia's Christmas in a Crisis Makes 18
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 eighteen 7.5cm (3 inch) ounds, 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.
These can be made ahead and frozen (without the icing sugar), then defrosted for 45 minutes at room temperature.
You will also need one (or two) trays of 6cm (2½ inch) patty tins, one fluted 7.5cm (3 inch) pastry cutter and one 6cm (2½ inch) cutter.