Mince pies are small, individual, sweet pies that are traditionally served in the UK at Christmas time and around the New Year. They can be served hot or cold and eaten on their own or with thick cream or brandy butter - whichever way, they always taste delicious.
Mince pies can be made using a number of different types of pastry, including shortcrust, rough puff, flaky, puff or rich flan pastry, however, shortcrust is generally used most of the time.
Although their name suggests otherwise, mince pies are a sweet dessert. They do not contain minced beef or pork, but are filled with mincemeat - a preserve consisting of dried fruits, apple, mixed peel, almonds, spices, suet or vegetable shortening and a small (or not so small) amount of alcohol.
To make your own mincemeat is not difficult, although the mixture should be prepared 2 days in advance. By preparing your own mincemeat you can add as little or as many of the typical ingredients as you like and in your own preference of quantities. In addition, there is nothing more satisfactory than eating your own homemade mince pies rather than those that are commercially made and sold in the shops.
Below we offer a basic recipe for mince pies plus two recipes for homemade mincemeat as well. By following our method
for shortcrust pastry and one of the recipes that follows for homemade mincemeat, you will be able to proudly show off your fresh batch of cooked mince pies, boasting that you have made everything yourself from scratch. Why not make a few batches using a variety of pastries to see which ones are the most popular with your friends and family?