It’s Christmas! (Nearly) This year I’m responsible for making mini mince pies for the family on the big day. There’s going to be 25 of us this year so DS and I are limbering up and getting into practice. I’ve already made the christmas mincemeat and pastry (recipes at the bottom below), so ready to put them together and get baking!
Helper (straight from a friend’s party – he’s currently a devil):
Flouring the board (I’ve got a brilliant marble chopping board that’s smooth and stays cool so the pastry doesn’t get too warm + squishy….at least until DS starts getting creative!):
Greasing the pie tin with butter and greaseproof paper:
Rolling out pastry + cutting circles:
We rolled the pastry to 6mm thick (using super useful rolling pin that lets you set the thickness – I used to use several ice-lolly sticks taped together as a guide for the thickness), and then I pressed the cut shapes with my thumbs to make them thinner, and start to make them slightly bowl shaped to fit the pie tin better:
Fill generously with mincemeat (squish in as much as possible :D), and then 1/2 a teaspoon of sweet cream cheese mixture:
Cut stars + lid the pies with them, gently pressing the points into the rim of the base:
Brush with cold milk to help them brown (I use a normal paint brush I got just for baking – obviously a pastry brush would be great here too :D):
Bake in the middle of an oven at 220 C (mine’s a fan oven and runs hot so is at 200 C) for 12-15 mins for mini pies, and about 20 minutes for full size pies:
Cool a bit and eat warm – these are also yummy a day or two later if you microwave them for 20-30 seconds (careful as the middles can get very hot!). You can make the completed baked pies in advance and freeze them too 😀 But in our house it’s best to remember to eat them before everyone else gets to them!
Home-made Christmas Mincemeat
This recipe is based on Delia Smith’s recipe (In ‘Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course’, published in 1979!). I’ve just added the cranberries and cranberry sauce, because I like them 😀 The method is to put everything into a big bowl, stir it up and then spoon into jars. Our family has never bothered about baking it in a low oven (this is to prevent it fermenting), as we think the fermenting makes it taste better! I don’t know how many mince pies this makes – I just keep making pies until it’s finished.
1lb (500g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
8oz (225g) shredded suet
12oz (350g) raisins
8oz (225g) sultanas
8oz (225g) currants
8oz (225g) mixed peel, finedly chopped
2oz (50g) dried cranberries (optional – leave out if you can’t get them)
10oz (275g) dark muscavado or soft dark brown sugar
The grated rind and the juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
2oz (50g) sliced almonds
4 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp powdered cinnamon
1/2 a nutmeg, grated
6 tbsp brandy
a 200g jar of cranberry sauce
Wholemeal Orange Pastry
This recipe (and the overall concept of ‘Deluxe Mince Pies’ with the sweet cream cheese) comes from xxx [check w. mum]. I’ve changed the pastry to wholemeal because I prefer the taste. This pastry is usually enough to use up a good chunk of the mincemeat above.
1/2lb (250g) Plain Flour
1/2lb (250g) Wholemeal Flour (or use only plain flour by swapping it in here and leaving out the baking powder)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Barcarbonate of Soda
6oz (175g) Icing or Caster Sugar
12oz (375g) Butter – best if this is chilled, straight from the fridge.
Finely grated rind and the juice of 1 large orange
Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder and bicarb into a bowl (there will be bran bits from the wholemeal flour left in the sieve – just tip these in once everything else has gone through). Cut the butter into pieces about 1cm across + sir into the flour. You now need to rub the butter into the flour. You do this by pinching the butter pieces in the flour so that they get squished into the flour and come apart. The movement of your fingers is sort of like when you click them, but rubbing rather than snapping. You keep pinching/rubbing the butter pieces into the flour until there’s no big bits of butter left and the whole mixture is an even bread-crumby texture. It’s important to take time to rub in the butter properly. For the full recipe this took me at least 15-20 minutes (and yes, it makes your arms hurt!). You then stir in the orange rind and the juice. Gently gather the dough together and pat it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins until using it.
I usually make this whenever I get time in the week before I need it and just leave it in the fridge. It also freezes well, but you’ll need to defrost it thoroughly overnight in the fridge before using.
Sweet Cream Cheese
Just stick sugar and cream cheese into a bowl and mix together. The full recipe makes enough for 24 big mince pies. I find that 1/4 of this recipe is enough for 12 generously filled mini mince pies.
Sweet Cream Cheese Ingredients:
2oz (50g) Caster Sugar
8oz (200g) Full fat cream cheese