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Mince pies are everywhere at this time of year, but even so, homemade ones never fail to impress. This recipe originally hails from a Christmas cookery course my mother took before I was born. Naturally, the method and ingredients have been tweaked and edited a great deal over the last 30 years, so I’m claiming it as a Hughes family recipe.
What makes this recipe special is the pastry. It’s very light and crisp, not like the soft and soggy stuff you often find with shop-bought ones. They’re also a lot smaller than the average mince pie.
I hope you like them! If you do follow the recipe, send me a review on Twitter.
The original recipe requires three 12 section bun tins. A bun tin is smaller and shallower than a muffin tin, although, you can still use a muffin tin, I just wouldn’t fill them all the way with pastry, otherwise your mince pies would be gargantuan. If in doubt, I have this bun tin from Lakeland. I just do three loads.
Cutter-wise, for this bun tin, I use one that has the same diameter as a standard tin can. At this size, the recipe will yield 36 mince pies. If you use a different size cutter your mileage may vary. For the top you can use any small shaped cutters, tiny star ones like this are available everywhere.
- 1lb, 454g or 3 & 1/3rd cups of plain flour
- 2 & 1/2 tsp of mixed spice
- 8oz, 250g, 1 cup or two American sticks of cold cubed butter
- 3 tbsp of icing sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp cold water
- A 411g/14 oz jar of mincemeat
- 6 glace cherries chopped into 1/8ths
- 2 tbsp whisky or brandy (optional)
- A small handful of flaked almonds (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F or gas mark 5.
- Sieve together the flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl (a massive one like this).
- Add the cubes of cold butter to the flour and start rubbing it together with your fingers until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor you can throw in the butter and flour/spice mixture and pulse it to achieve the same effect.
- Shake the bowl and the larger lumps of remaining butter should rise to the top. Keep shaking the bowl and rubbing the lumps until it’s all even.
- Once everything is evenly combined, separate two eggs and add the yolks to the breadcrumb mixture, along with the sieved icing sugar and 2 tbsp of cold water. Reserve one of the egg whites for later.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it forms a lump of dough. Then use your hands to knead it to a soft but not sticky dough.
- Pop it in some clingfilm and leave it in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
- Empty out your mincemeat into a bowl and add the chopped glace cherries and brandy or whisky if you’re using it. Stir well.
- Remove the rested pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a fluted cutter to cut 36 rounds.
- Place the rounds in the tin and half fill them with your mincemeat mixture.
- You can then either top them with flaked almonds or cut out three stars for the top of each mince pie from the remaining pastry.
- Whisk the reserved egg white with a fork then use a pastry brush to glaze the tops of the mince pies.
- Put them in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, then leave them to rest on a wire rack until cool.
- Dust with icing sugar for extra wow-factor.
Mincemeat is not that expensive, and this recipe means that even the cheapest mincemeat can be tarted up to make a premium mince pie. However, supermarkets never sell their full stock at Christmas, so I often pick it up reduced in January. Usually, they have longer than a year left on the best before date too. This jar is still selling for £3.79 in Waitrose, but I got it for 29p. Bargain!
Want more recipes? Check out my one for Welsh cakes.