I think I have said before that mince pies are my favourite Christmas food, but only homemade ones. I have yet to taste a decent factory made mince pie. It is no wonder many people say they don’t like mince pies if all they have ever eaten are the ones available in supermarkets.
If you haven’t had time to make your own mincemeat buy a good quality one and add a little finely chopped apple and a good slosh of brandy and you’ll find the flavour much improved.
For my mince pies I make an orange pastry. I only make this pastry at Christmas which makes it special. The recipe is based on my mother’s recipe for rich shortcrust pastry with the addition of oranges and sugar.
The Best Pastry for Mince PiesCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
8 ounces / 225 grams plain flour.
4 ounces / 110 grams salted butter.
2 ounces / 55 grams lard or white vegetable fat.
1 medium orange.
1 ounce / 25 grams caster sugar.
- Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl.
- Add the butter and lard / white vegetable fat cut into small pieces and the zest of the orange and sugar to the flour.
- Rub the fats into the flour/sugar/orange zest mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
- Squeeze the juice from the orange and add 3 tablespoons of orange juice to the rubbed in mixture.
- Mix with a round bladed knife until the mixture forms clumps. Then bring it together into a ball with your fingers.
- Rest the pastry in a cool place for 30 minutes and then use it to make your mince pies.
Orange Pastry Mince Pies
Use the orange pastry (The Best Pastry for Mince Pies) and the Slow Cooker Orange Mincemeat from the recipes I have given you.
You will need one or two 12 hole shallow bun trays, a 3½ inch 9cm cutter and a 3 inch 7½cm cutter. A small star shaped cutter can be used for the top of the pies instead of the 3 inch 7½cm cutter.
Orange pastry made with 8 ounces / 225 grams flour
1 pound / 450 grams / 1-2 jars of mincemeat
- Take approximately two thirds of the pastry and roll out as thinly as you can. Cut out twelve rounds with the large cutter.
- Gather up the scraps and using them and the remaining third of pastry, roll out thinly and cut twelve rounds with the smaller cutter or twelve stars with the star cutter, or a mixture of both.
- If you have any pastry left use it to cut out equal numbers of larger rounds and smaller rounds or stars. I usually get up to 18 pies from this amount of pastry but it should make at least twelve. It all depends on how thinly you roll your pastry.
- Use the larger rounds to line the indentations in the bun tray. Fill them with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat – one 1 pound / 450 grams jar should fill a minimum of twelve pies.
- Brush the smaller rounds/stars with milk and place on top of the mincemeat filling milk side down. Seal the edges of the pies by pressing them together gently with a finger tip and make three small slashes in the top with a small knife. If you are using star shapes they just need to be pressed gently into place.
- At this stage you can freeze your mince pies. Open freeze in the bun tray, then when frozen take them out and store in the freezer in a plastic box or bag. They can be cooked from frozen and will save you a lot of time at Christmas.
- If you are cooking your mince pies straight away brush with milk and bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C fan / 210°C / Gas Mark 7 / 425°F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. When using frozen mince pies brush with milk and cook at the same temperature. They may take a few minutes longer to cook.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar. Leave in the bun trays for a few minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool.
- When cold they can be stored in an air tight tin for up to one week, although they rarely last that long in my house. Reheat for about 10 minutes in a moderate oven to serve warm.
I do hope you have fun this week making mince pies. Happy Baking!
Next week I will be making a chocolate ginger cake as a suggestion for an alternative Christmas cake. Many people find the traditional fruit cake too rich and heavy. This cake provides a light alternative.