Mince Pies08/08/2012 08:44
No traditional Christmas would be complete with out a batch of these delicious treats. Mince Pies, like Christmas Pudding, were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. The filling is a mixture of raisins, sultanas, apricots, glace cherries, candied citrus peel, apples, various types of nuts and mixed spices typically nutmeg and cinnamon.
Mince pies should traditionally have a star on top, to represent the Christmas Star which some believe led the shepherds and Magi to the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. It was important to add three spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) for the three gifts given to the Christ child by the Magi.
A custom from the middle ages says that if you eat a mince pie on every day from Christmas to Twelfth Night (6th January) you will have happiness for the next 12 months! To refuse one would lead to bad luck. So, best tuck in and get munching! :)
Making your own mince pies is a must, filled with a generous amount of homemade mincemeat they are such a treat! Mincemeat is available to buy ready made in jars, great if your short on time.
This lovely, buttery-rich pastry melts in the mouth. Serve these festive pies hot or cold with a drizzle of cream.
You will need a 12-hole bun tin, well greased.
A 9cm pastry cutter & a 7cm pastry cutter
450g / 1lb plain flour, sifted
1 level tbsp icing sugar
1 level tbsp caster sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
275g / 10 oz cold butter, diced
Homemade mincemeat, or a jar 450g mincemeat
caster sugar -for the pie tops
Preheat the oven 190C / 175 C fan/ gas mark 5
In a bowl mix the flour, salt, icing sugar and caster sugar together.
Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolks with 6 tbsp iced - cold water and pour into flour mixture. Knead with floured hands till it forms a ball. Divide into two. Wrap in clear film and rest the pastry in the fridge for a t least 1 hour.
On a floured surface, roll out one portion at a time of the pastry to a thickness of 5mm. Using your cutters, stamp out 12 large rounds ( base)and 12 small rounds ( lids) from each batch.
Line tin with the larger pasrty rounds and spoon in a generous amount of mincemeat into each. Brush the edges of the smaller rounds (lids) with a little water and place on top. Pinch the edges together and make an inscision in the top of each pie. - cut a cross with a knife or snip two incission with scissor. Brush the pies with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar. Pop them into the oven to bake for about 25 minutes till golden.
To make your own mincemeat for the pies, mix together ~
450g/ 1lb mixed dried fruit
115g/ 4oz Demerara sugar
115g/ 4oz Shredded suet
115g/ 4oz Mixed peel
115g/ 4oz Chopped blanched almonds
Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
115g /4oz grated apple
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tspground cinnamon
4 tbsp Brandy
Pack into sterlised jars and seal with lids. Keep in a cool, dry place.