Easy Mince Pies
I tried very hard on this one to short-circuit the pastry-making by using ready-rolled shortcrust.
Although I have to say it's okay if you roll it thinly enough, particularly if you're using home-made mincemeat, which will be the star when it comes to flavour, I still want the superior flavour of home-made pastry. So what I've done instead is use a quick processor shortcrust pastry, which is very simple and takes very little extra time.
This recipe is from Delia's Christmas Easy Makes 24 plus
First of all, weigh out the fats (which can be straight form the fridge), cut them into chunks and add them to the bowl of a processor.
The flour should be sifted into a mixing bowl, then tipped in to join the fats. Add a little salt, then process until the mixture is crumbly and blended. Now add 3 tablespoons of water, process again, then remove the dough to the mixing bowl. Bring it all together with your hands, adding a few more drops of water to make a dough that leaves the bowl clean.
If you don't have a processor, rub the fat, in small pieces, into the sifted flour and salt till it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the water to make a dough. Now pop it into a plastic bag to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge, which will make it easier to roll out.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F, 200°C.
After that, divide the dough in half on a well-floured surface. How many mince pies you actually get depends on how thinly you roll the pastry. So roll it out as thinly as possible, then use the large cutter to cut out rounds. Place the cutter on the pastry and give it a sharp tap - don't be tempted to twist at all. Now place the rounds in the patty tins, adding one rounded teaspoon of mincemeat to each one. Next, roll out the other half of pastry and repeat the exercise with the smaller cutter. Then dampen the edges with milk and press them lightly into position on top of the mincemeat to form lids, sealing the edges well. (You can chill the mince pies at this stage if you don't want to cook them straightaway.) Next, brush the pies with milk, make 3 snips in the top of each one with scissors, then bake them on the top shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Finally, cool them on a wire rack and, when they're absolutely cold, pack them carefully between layers of baking parchment in plastic freezer boxes.
*To make this recipe gluten-free:* Use gluten-free white flour, but adapt the quantities to 10½ oz (295 g) gluten-free white flour, 4 oz (110 g) butter or margarine and 2 oz (50 g) lard. Use gluten-free mincemeat.
This will make about 20 mince pies.
You will also need two 12-hole patty tin trays, each hole 2½ inches (6 cm) across the top, greased, and a 3 inch (7.5 cm) pastry cutter and a 2½ inch (6 cm) pastry cutter, both fluted.