Mince pies - Recipes for traditional mince pies and mincemeat filling.

mince pies

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.
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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?

Easy to make mince pies

Ingredients
  • 450g (1lb) of mincemeat
  • 340g (12oz) of shortcrust pastry
  • milk or beaten egg to glaze
  • icing sugar to dust
Method
  1. Roll out the pastry.
  2. Use a 3in fluted pastry cutter to cut out a number of rounds and then use a 2¼in cutter to cut out the same number of smaller rounds. The cutter sizes don't have to be the same as ours.
  3. Arrange the larger circles of pastry in the bottom of the required number of patty tins and half fill with mincemeat.
  4. Moisten the edge of the smaller rounds of pastry and fit over the top of the mincemeat. Press the edges down and make a small hole or slit in the top of the pastry.
  5. Glaze with egg or milk.
  6. Arrange the patty tins on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (425°F) for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Dust with sifted icing sugar.
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Homemade mince pies

Ingredients
  • For the mincemeat
  • 400g (14oz) of dark muscovado sugar
  • 340g (12oz) each of raisins, sultanas and currants
  • 200g (7oz) finely chopped mixed peel
  • 170g (6oz) of finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 170g (6oz) beef suet or vegetable shortening
  • 3 apples, diced
  • 120ml (4fl oz) of brandy
  • juice and zest of 1 orange
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 tbsp of dark rum
  • 1 tsp of grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp each of ground cloves, cinnamon, ground mace and ground ginger
  • For the pastry
  • shortcrust pastry made with 450g (1lb) of flour and 225g (8oz) of unsalted butter beaten egg to glaze
Method
  1. Mix all of the mincemeat ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Transfer to sterilised jam jars and cover with lid. Every few hours turn the jars over so that the alcohol disperses evenly.
  3. Make the pastry following our instructions for shortcrust pastry.
  4. Roll out the pastry and follow the instructions in the above recipe from numbers 1 - 7 but bake the mince pies in a preheated oven set at 200°C (400°F) for 15 - 20 minutes.

Luxury mincemeat

Ingredients
  • 900g (2lb) of a mixture of sultanas, currants and raisins
  • 225g (8oz) dried apricots, chopped
  • 450g (1lb) of demerera sugar
  • 300ml (½ pint) of brandy
  • 4 tbsp of marmalade
  • 3 tbsp of orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp of ground mixed spice
  • ½ tsp of ground nutmeg
Method
  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl and leave to sit in a cool place for 48 hours. Stir occasionally.
  3. Spoon into sterilised jars and cover with a lid. Store for 2 weeks before using.
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