Sunday, 9 December 2012

Puff pastry mince pies

6 puff pastry mince pies on a wire cooling rack

I love mince pies! I have to admit, we do buy shop-bought – especially early in the season. However, not much beats a home-made mince pie and, once you have made the mincemeat, it is so easy to make a batch of pies. Everyone thinks that you are a domestic goddess – even if you do just use shop-bought pastry!

I made the mincemeat a couple of weeks ago, but only got round to making my first batch of mince pies on Thursday this week:  in time for my mum’s arrival! Having had some pretty good puff pastry mince pies from the Co-op, I decided to make my own. However, even Baking Supremo Mary Berry says that she doesn’t make her own pastry – which is a good enough excuse for me, so my pastry came courtesy of Mr Sainsbury!

The co-op mince pies were flat rather than having a curved base, I’ve never made them like this but decided to give it a go. It was actually a lot easier than trying to put disks of pastry into a bun tin and they worked out pretty well – although I think I could have possibly baked them a little longer - but they tasted great anyway!

Christmas Mincemeat

Makes 3 lb (1.35 kg)

  1. 8oz (225g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
  2. 4 oz (110 g) shredded suet
  3. 4oz (175 g) raisins
  4. 4oz (110 g) sultanas
  5. 2oz (55g) currants
  6. 2oz (55g) dried cranberries
  7. 2oz (55g) dried sour cherries
  8. 4oz (110 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
  9. 6oz (175 g) soft dark brown sugar
  10. grated zest and juice 1 orange
  11. grated zest and juice 1 lemon
  12. 2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
  13. ¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  14. good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  15. 3 tablespoons cherry brandy or amaretto
  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the alcohol, in a large oven-proof bowl, mixing thoroughly.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave the mixture in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours, so the flavours have a chance to mingle and develop.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (120°C).
  4. Cover the bowl loosely with foil and place it in the oven for 3 hours, then remove the bowl from the oven. Don't worry about the appearance of the mincemeat, which will look positively swimming in fat. This is how it should look.
  5. As it cools, stir it from time to time; the fat will coagulate and, instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients.
  6. When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the alcohol.
  7. Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below).
  8. When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal.
  9. The mincemeat will keep for ages in a cool, dark cupboard but it is best eaten within a year of making.

NOTE: To sterilise jars, wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water, rinse well, then dry thoroughly with a clean tea cloth, place them on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven, gas mark 4, 350F, 180C, for 5 minutes.

Puff pastry mince pies

  1. 6 tsp mincemeat (preferably home-made)
  2. 2 tblsp milk
  3. 250g puff pastry
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  3. Roll the pastry out to approx. 4mm thick.
  4. Cut out twelve 8cm disks.
  5. Place 6 of the disks on the baking tray and brush with milk.
  6. Place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre of each disk.
  7. Brush each of the remaining pastry disks with milk and then place them, milk side down, on top of the other mincemeat-topped disks.
  8. Press down around the edges to seal.
  9. Brush the tops of the mince pies with more milk.
  10. Cook for 20-25 minutes, until risen and golden.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  12. Move pies onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

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