Saturday, December 16, 2017

Mince Pies

Because it's just not Christmas without mince pies! And it's a good opportunity to practice sweet shortcrust pastry.  This time I tried Paul Holywood's pastry recipe, which has a very high fat to flour ratio, making for a slightly more sticky dough that needs a bit of patience to work with as it tears quite easily, but equally it's easy to pat it back together again.   I was inspired by Nigella to top my pies with cut out shapes rather than traditional lids.  However, the high butter content makes the cut pastry loose its shape a bit when baked, so my nice sharp snowflakes look a bit melty on baking.  I must admit I did cheat and use store bought mincemeat, but I actually really like the shop bought kind so what the hey!

Large jar of mincemeat, I used Waitrose 800g jar
375g plain flour
260g butter
125g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
1 large egg beaten

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs-I used my stand mixer to do this.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Beat the egg and sprinkle over the flour mixture.
  • Use a knife to stir the mixture until it clumps together, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead gently into a smooth paste.  Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30mins.
  • Preheat the oven to 220c/200c fan/gas mark 7
  • Once rested, cut the dough in half and roll out to 3mm thickness.  Using a round cutter, cut out rounds for the pie bases. Press gently into the muffin trays.
  • Fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat.
  • Reroll the pastry and cut out snowflakes or ivy leaves and top the pies with them.
  • Continue cutting out the pastry til it is all used, I got 14 pies from this quantity of pastry.
  • Brush the tops with egg wash or milk.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown, then leave to cool before turning out of the tins.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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