Well it is that time of year and Christmas would not be Christmas without a mince pie. Mince pies do not last long in our house especially when all the boys are at home. I tend to vary how I make my mince pies over the course of Christmas sometimes using plain pastry (a combination of 2 parts flour to 1 part butter and a pinch of salt brought together with a little water) sometimes I make sweet pastry (by adding an egg and some sugar to the pastry mix). However, today I decided to make almond pastry which is lovely and crumbly and goes very nicely with the mincemeat.
Nothing can really beat a homemade mince pie, particularly when it is served with a little cream or brandy butter (a combination of softened butter, icing sugar and a splash of brandy). If you have the time, do make the pastry by hand as it will make it far more crumbly and it won’t run the risk of being ‘overworked’!
If you think you are going to be short of time over Christmas, you could always prepare a batch of mince pies in advance and freeze them – if you do this, don’t glaze them with egg and sugar before placing them in the freezer, do it just before you put them in the oven (make sure you take them out of the freezer at least an hour before cooking so that they can come up to room temperature beforehand.
Ingredients: (makes 12)
- 3oz butter
- 5oz plain flour
- 1oz ground almonds
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- ¼tsp salt
- 2-3tbsp water (to bind)
- 12 heaped tsp mincemeat
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2-3 tbsp granulated white sugar (for scattering on top after glazing)
1. Firstly make the pastry – place the butter, flour, almonds, caster sugar and salt in a bowl.
2. Using your fingers, crumb together the ingredients.
3. Add a little water to bring the pastry together, form a ball, wrap tightly in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes – an hour.
4. Once the pastry has rested, roll it out on a floured surface until it is roughly 2-3mm thick.
5. Take two pastry cutters (you will need a 2” and 3” cutter).
6. Cut out 12 circles of both sizes, if necessary, gather up and re-roll any leftover cuttings.
7. Place the larger of the circles in the bottom of your mince pie tray and then place a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each of the cases.
8. Brush the bottoms of each of the pastry circles that are going to make the tops of your pies with beaten egg, then delicately place on top of the pie, pressing down gently at the edges.
9. Prick the tops of each of your pies with a fork then, glaze each of the pies with a little egg wash, scatter over a little of the granulated sugar.
10. Place in an oven at 190C fan for 12-13 minutes, until golden brown.
11. Once cooked, remove from the tin using a knife to gently life them out, and allow them to cool slightly before serving.