Festive Mince Pies

YAY, it’s December!

Christmas is round the corner, festive stuff fills the shops, et cetera. Time for me to get my baking jig on and fill the house with calorific edible goodies, like mince pies.

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Oooh the humble mince pie. It sounds so gross. Like it’s full of gristle, and ground up bits of meat that nobody wanted to eat whole.

Good thing it’s not (at least, not the modern day mince pie). For those unfamiliar with them, they’re sweetly sticky, spiced, and packed full of glossy dried fruit. Then there’s all that pastry too!

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Gosh I’m on such a pastry kick these days. I think it’s because I went a bit crazy a few weeks ago and made loads, and now I feel guilty about how full the freezer is with pastry, and there’s no space for the frozen vegetables to go.

To be honest, I don’t see the point of making my own mincemeat. I only ever use up a little bit each year, and homemade stuff seems to taste the same to me, only a lot more boozy. So with these mince pies, it was a quick scurry to Waitrose, and plucking the last remaining jar triumphantly off the baking shelf.

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Actually, when I think about it, with ready made mincemeat and pastry, mince pies are as about as simple to make as jam tarts, but you get about triple the amount of domestic goddess points. How great is that?

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The first lot of photos turned out luridly yellow thanks to the lack of actual daylight at 5pm. Of course, I was hardly only going to make one batch of mince pies, so I took another set of snaps during the daytime, which turned out a lot better!

Mince Pies

Makes 12

  • 300g shortcrust pastry
  • 1 jar of mincemeat

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry. Cut out larger circles from it, and use them to line a 12 hole muffin tin. Prick the base of each pastry case with fork. Into each case, coax in a spoonful of mincemeat.

With the remaining pastry, cut out smaller circles or stars, or other shapes, to use as lids for your pies. Dab a little water around the edge of each pastry case so the pastry lids stick down nicely. Pop your pies into the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden and the mincemeat is bubbling.

Leave the pies to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then unmould and set onto a cooling rack to cool down completely. You can dust them with icing sugar at this point if you like too.

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Next year I might even make my own mincemeat – I’ve tried a suet-free version before, but now I’ve got plenty of the stuff leftover from sticky toffee puddings, so why not go all out?

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