Christmas Mince Pies

Mince pies with mulled wine are a must for the Christmas season. The best ones of course are home made or from a good bakery.

Mince Pies at Christmas

Preparation: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes resting time for the pastry

Cooking: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Almond Pastry

  • 200g plain flour
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 100g butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk (large)
  • 45ml (3tbsp) milk

Filling

  • 300g mincemeat

To Finish

  • 1 egg, beaten

Method

  1. Pastry: Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the ground almonds. Add the butter cut into pieces and rub in with fingertips. Sift in the icing sugar, add the grated lemon rind and stir to mix. To make in a food processor, put the flour, ground almonds, sifted icing sugar, grated lemon rind and butter in the processor and whiz to crumbs. Turn out into mixing bowl. Combine the egg yolk and milk and mix with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients and using a metal spoon or in mixer with beater, mix until the ingredients are evenly wet. With floured fingers, draw the mixture together to make a rough dough in the bowl. Turn out the pastry onto a lightly floured worktop and knead two or three times so that it is smooth. Allow the pastry to rest before 20 minutes before rolling.
  2. Divide the dough into 2 and dust a worktop with flour. Roll out half the dough thinly on the dusted surface and cut it out into 12x7.5cm/3inch rounds with a fluted cutter. Line a 12 hole in bun tin with the pastry.
  3. Filling: Place a small tablespoons of the mince meat in the centre of each (don't overfill them or they will leak when cooking.
  4. Roll out the remaining dough thinly and cut out 12x6cm/21/cinches rounds with a fluted cutter. If you wish you can reroll the leftover pastry and cut out shapes such as stars and small Christmas trees a little smaller than the pastry rounds.
  5. Brush around the edges of the pies with a little beaten egg and place the rounds on top, sealing the filling in. If you have cut out shapes to go on top place them on sticking them down with a little beaten egg.
  6. To Cook: Preheat an oven to 180°C. Brush the tops of the pies with a little beaten egg and sprinkle over some caster sugar. Place the pies in the preheated oven and cook them for 12-15 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Remove them from their tins and serve them hot or allow them to cool on a wire rack.
  • Cheesecake Mince Pies: Beat together 100g cream cheese, 2 tbsp caster sugar and zest of 1 orange. Use only 200g of mincemeat and place 1 generous teaspoon in each case, then place a teaspoon of of the cream cheese mixture on top. Cover with pastry as above.
  • Frangipane Mince Pies: Frangipane Cream: Place 100g unsalted butter and 100g caster sugar together in a mixing bowl and mix them together until they are creamy and light. On a low speed mix in 2 eggs one at a time and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence until well combined. Sift the 30g flour and 100g ground almonds together. Slowly add the almond and flour mixture to the butter mixture while the motor is running. Mix the ingredients together until you have a creamy mixture. Set the frangapane cream aside until ready to use. *All ingredients should be at room temperature. Make 1/2 the pastry recipe or make 24 bases instead of 12, if so you may need a little more mincemeat. Fill the pastry bases with 1 tsp of mincemeat and top them with 1 tsp of Frangipane cream. Finish the pies with 50g of flaked almonds. Bake as above.
  • Meringue Mince Pies: Whisk together 2 egg whites until they are firm and then lightly whisk the egg whites while adding 60g caster sugar. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together until they are firm and glossy. Make 24 bases of pastry or half the pastry recipe and make 12. Fill the pastry bases with a generous teaspoon of mince meat and top them with the meringue. Bake as above.
  • Marzipan Mince Pies: Roll out 150g of marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar and cut 12 stars and 12 tree shapes around the same size as the pies. Make 24 mince pie bases and fill them with mince meat, place a shape on top of each pie and dust them with a little icing sugar. Cook as above.