I was chatting to my housemate about making pastry the other day and she was telling me of a Hawksmoor pie recipe that used both eggs and suet in the recipe and it dawned on me that this would be a great way to make sweet shortcrust. By making the pastry with suet it made the pastry beautifully light and more flaky than crumbly.
The concept of using two types of fat to make the pastry is not a new one, growing up the Delia Smith recipe that I used to follow for mince pies used equal amounts of butter and to make the recipe. However I have found the in using suet you get a far better distribution of fat throughout the pastry which gives it a marbled look when rolled out and it helps to turn the pies a beautiful golden brown colour during cooking.
Now to the mincemeat aspect of this pie – there is absolutely nothing wrong with using shop bought mincemeat! This is exactly what I do however I like to ‘pimp’ it up a bit by adding chopped walnuts, cranberries, glace cherries, plump sultanas and brandy. So if you have some dried fruit or nuts in you cupboard that you would work chuck it in, not only will it add to the flavour it will add to the texture of your pies. Enjoy!
Mince pies (using sweet shortcrust pastry)
Makes: 48 mini or 24 normal
Preparation time: 1.5hrs
- 1lb plain flour
- 4oz vegetable suet
- 4oz butter
- 2oz caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 whole egg + 2 yolks
- 2-4tbsp milk
- 2 jars of mincemeat
- 1 egg (for glazing)
- 2-3 tbsp granulated white sugar
- icing sugar
- nutmeg and cinnamon
- Make the pastry: place flour, butter, suet, caster sugar and salt in a bowl, using your fingers, rub the ingredients together until it forms a fine crumb-like texture. (Note: you can make the pastry in a food processor however it won’t make it as short).
- Add the egg and additional yolks and start to bring the mixture together, adding the milk a little at a time until the pastry forms a ball. Wrap tightly in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes – an hour. (Note: the pastry should feel fairly dry but hold together in a ball shape)
- Once the pastry has rested, in batches roll it out on a floured surface until it is roughly 2-3mm thick.
- Take two pastry cutters and cut out equal quantities of the pastry cases (the sizes that you require will vary depending on the size of your mince pie tin). Note any leftover pastry cuttings can be re-rolled, just gather them up knead back into a ball shape and then roll again.
- Place the larger circles in the bottom of your mince pie tray and then fill with mincemeat.
- Brush the bottoms of each of the pastry circles that are going to make the tops of your pies with a little milk to help seal your pies together and then delicately pinch the pastry together at the edges.
- Prick the tops of each of your pies with a skewer then, glaze each of the pies with a little egg wash, scatter over a little of the granulated sugar.
- Place in an oven at 190°C fan for 12-13 minutes, until golden brown.
- Once cooked, remove from the tin using a knife to gently life them out, and allow them to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar a little cinnamon and grating over some fresh nutmeg and serving.
Serving suggestion: serve with clotted cream that has had the zest of an orange, 1tbsp icing sugar and the seeds from a vanilla pod stirred through it.