Nothing beats homemade mince pies at Christmas.
I generally make my own suet-free mixture in September or October, giving it time to develop and mature.
Every now and again the time seems to just slide away – so my back up plan is to pimp the best quality shop-bought mincemeat mixture I can find, and wrap it up in this fabulous pastry.
My mom and I have baked dozens of batches of mince pies together, every year for the last 30 years, and this pastry has been honed and improved until it’s pretty close to biscuity perfection.
If you are having a domestic goddess year, or just a moment this is a great, suet-free (vegan) recipe for your own Christmas mincemeat mix.
If you are going with plan B and pimping shop bought mix then you can add things like grated apple or pear, a pinch of mixed spice, ground almonds, Cointreau, Calvados, Kirsch or Brandy, and a dash of vanilla or almond essence. Any (or all) of these should help add a dash of something special to your mix.
for the filling:
- 5 or 6 Coxs apples, peeled and cored
- 1 large unwaxed orange, zest and juice
- 2 large unwaxed lemons, zest and juice
- 200ml Cointreau
- 50ml Havana spiced rum
- 1 kg mixed fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas)
- 50g sour cherries
- 175g candied peel (I make my own)
- 500g soft brown sugar
- 150g nuts (you can use blanched almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans)
- a pinch of ground ginger
- a pinch of ground mixed spice
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
- finely chop the nuts
- if you have made your own, finely chop the mixed candied peel
- place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well
- leave to stand for two hours
- bottle in sterilised jars
- leave to mature for a minimum of three weeks
The mincemeat mixture lasts for months and they make great Christmas gifts too.
for the pastry:
- 140g unsalted butter
- 250g plain white flour
- 30g ground almonds
- 100g icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a large free range egg, lightly beaten
- Combine the butter and flour and mix with your fingertips
- Add the salt, icing sugar and almonds and mix to a sandy texture
- make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg
- mix and work gently until you have a smooth pastry
- roll into a fattish disc, wrap and chill for at least an hour
for the mince pies:
- Butter one full size or 3 mini size tart trays (this pastry makes 12-16 full size mince pies or 36-40 mini ones)
- dust with flour so the pastry doesn’t stick
- Roll out your pastry, a little thicker for a regular size or slightly thinner for a mini pie
- Cut out rounds using a cutter slightly larger than the tart tins
- Press gently into the tins and fill about 2/3 with the mincemeat mix
- Cut out stars, or trees and place on top of the mix
- Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg
- Bake at 180*C for around 12- 20 minutes or until crisp and starting to colour nicely (as a guide 18 minutes for regular size , or 12 minutes for mini tarts)
- Allow to cool on a rack for five minutes before removing from the tin and dusting with icing sugar
- Serve with dollops of whipped cream or mascarpone
I work in interior and brand design for the hospitality sector. My blog explores #slow living and a sustainable lifestyle in the modern world.