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!
Makes 3 lb (1.35 kg)
- 8oz (225g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
- 4 oz (110 g) shredded suet
- 4oz (175 g) raisins
- 4oz (110 g) sultanas
- 2oz (55g) currants
- 2oz (55g) dried cranberries
- 2oz (55g) dried sour cherries
- 4oz (110 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
- 6oz (175 g) soft dark brown sugar
- grated zest and juice 1 orange
- grated zest and juice 1 lemon
- 2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
- ¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
- good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons cherry brandy or amaretto
- Combine all the ingredients, except for the alcohol, in a large oven-proof bowl, mixing thoroughly.
- 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.
- Pre-heat the oven to gas mark ¼, 225°F (120°C).
- 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.
- 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.
- When the mincemeat is quite cold, stir well again, adding the alcohol.
- Pack in jars that have been sterilised (see below).
- When filled, cover with waxed discs and seal.
- 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
- 6 tsp mincemeat (preferably home-made)
- 2 tblsp milk
- 250g puff pastry
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Roll the pastry out to approx. 4mm thick.
- Cut out twelve 8cm disks.
- Place 6 of the disks on the baking tray and brush with milk.
- Place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre of each disk.
- Brush each of the remaining pastry disks with milk and then place them, milk side down, on top of the other mincemeat-topped disks.
- Press down around the edges to seal.
- Brush the tops of the mince pies with more milk.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, until risen and golden.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Move pies onto a wire rack to finish cooling.