|Preparation time:||15 - 45 minutes|
|Cooking time:||2 hours 25 minutes|
Home-made mince pies really are unbeatable.
First you will need to make the mince meat. You can buy it ready-made, but your own will be infinitely superior! It's also a wonderful way of spending time with your family and preparing for a season of fun and festivity...
- 6 oz /175g raisins
- 4 oz / 110g sultanas
- 10 oz / 275g currants
- 4 oz /110g candied, mixed peel, finely chopped
- 6 oz /175g shredded suet (beef or vegetarian)
- ½ lb / 250g soft, dark brown sugar
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1 Bramley or cooking apple, cored and finely chopped, no need to peel
- 4 tbsp brandy
Put all the ingredients except the brandy into a bowl, stir well, cover and leave over night. The next day put the bowl covered with foil into a preheated oven at 225°F/ 120°C ¼ GAS for 2 hours. This will melt the suet, which acts as a preservative so stir it really well at this point. Add the brandy after removing the mincemeat from the oven and stir through the mix. Allow to cool and pack into sterilised jars or use immediately.
For the pastry, I highly recommend making your own. Shop bought is not in the same league and if you've gone to all the effort of making your own mince meat...!
This really simple method makes delicious pastry. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until it resembles bread crumbs. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of milk. Blitz again until a dough begins to form. Tip into a bowl, bring together, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to allow your fabulous home-made pastry to rest. If you don't have a food processor you will have to make it the old fashioned way, rubbing the fat in by hand.
- 100g lard
- 80g butter
- 370g plain flour
- A little milk and a pinch of salt
On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry until it is no more that 5mm thick. Use a cutter to cut shapes to line a muffin tin. You will need one size cutter for the base and a smaller one for your lids.
Fill the pies with mincemeat (not too full or they overflow), brush milk around the sides of the pastry and put a lid on top. Prick with two holes to allow the steam to escape. At this stage you can refrigerate or freeze them until you are ready to use them or you can cook them straight away in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6 for 20-25 minutes.
It seems an enormously long recipe, but really, it's all very simple and absolutely worth the effort. Just think - a scant 5 minutes after bringing them out of the oven you can dust them with icing sugar and serve with cold cream or be very naughty indeed and have lashings of brandy butter. Mmmmm! Happy Christmas!