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In my opinion Christmas isn’t complete without mince pies and nothing beats a homemade mince pie – shop bought ones just aren’t the same.
I remember seeing an interview a while ago with Paul Hollywood who said that he preferred to make his mince pies in a muffin tin so that you could fit in plenty of filling, and that’s the approach I’ve taken. Another advantage of this approach is that it allows you to keep your pastry a little thicker which makes it easier to work with.
Mince pies are really easy to make. In my experience it takes about 15 minutes to make the pastry and 15 minutes to make the pies (then extra time for chilling and cooking). You can save time by making the pastry in a food processor. However, I prefer to make it by hand so that it doesn’t get overworked and, to be honest, by the time I’ve washed up my food processor afterwards it doesn’t really save time anyway!
Pastry can be a little fiddly to work with, especially this pastry as it include grounds almonds which makes the mixture more crumbly. However, I’ve included some of my favourite cheats in the recipe below which should make the process nice and simple.
There is one very annoying aspect to my recipe – it makes 14 pies. This is annoying because muffin tins tend to come as either six or twelve. Unfortunately it’s not easy to adjust the recipe to make a more convenient amount as it contains eggs. If you’ve only got a 12-hole muffin tin then you could freeze the spare pastry to use later.
Mince pies, full of fruity goodness
Now it can be difficult to eat healthily over Christmas so the great news is that as these mince pies are packed full of dried fruit, they contribute one of your five-a-day fruit and vegetables (you may not want to look at the fat, sugar and calories and just focus on the healthy dried fruit!).
I’d recommended getting a set of double sided circle pastry cutters. The range of sizes means that you have the different sizes you need for the base and the lid, and also many muffin tins are slightly different shapes so having a set means that you should definitely have the right size for your tin. Using double sided cutters also means that I can have a fluted edge on the base of the pie and a flat edge on the lid.
You’ll also need a large bowl, rolling pin, cling film, muffin tins (enough to have 14 holes) and a pastry brush.
Traditional Deep-Filled Mince Pies
- 900g Mincemeat
- 400g Plain Flour
- 80g Caster Sugar
- 150g Ground Almonds
- 250g Butter + a little extra for greasing the tin
- 2 Eggs
- Milk - to glaze the pies
Make the pastry
- Sift the plain flour (400g) into a large bowl.
- Add the caster sugar (80g) and ground almonds (150g).
- Cut the butter (250g) into cubes and add to the bowl.
- Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it form breadcrumbs - I find that it's easier to do this if you have cold hands as this helps to keep the butter firmer.
- Once your mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs, in a separate bowl, beat the egg (2 eggs) and the add it into the mixture.
- Mix the egg into the mixture and then bring the mixture together with your hands - if the mixture is a bit dry and crumbly, knead it a few times until it comes together. Be careful not to over-knead the pastry as this may make it less tender to eat.
- Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for about half an hour.
- Lightly grease your muffin tins with butter.
Make the pies
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to your desired thickness - I prefer not to make the pastry too thin as I like a generous amount of mincemeat filling and keeping the pastry a little thicker gives the right balance or pastry and filling. I sometimes have trouble with pastry sticking, so I cheat and put the pastry between two sheets of cling film before rolling. The cling film is then easily peeled off. I also prefer not to roll out all of the pastry in one go. I roll out enough for a few circles, keeping the rest in the fridge until I'm ready to use it.
- Cut out 14 large circles and gentle press each pastry circle into a hole in your muffin tin. I find it easiest to lay the circle of pastry flat on the tin and the gently push down the centre. I then gently push the bottom to the edges of the tin. If you accidentally make a hole you can use a small amount of spare pastry to patch the hole. just make sure to seal the edges so that the filling doesn't leak out.
- Fill each pie with a generous tablespoon of mincemeat. Don't fill each pie completely to the top as you need to leave space to add a lid.
- Cut out 14 smaller circles and place onto the top of each pie. Gently press around the edges to seal the lid to the base of the pie
- Using a sharp knife, cut a slit in the top of each pie
- Brush the top of each pie with a little milk
- Cover the pies with cling film and chill for about 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan
- Bakes the pies for 20 minutes, until the pastry is a golden brown colour.
- Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes and then remove and allow to cool on a wire rack (or, even better, eat them still warm from the oven)
Nutritional information per mince pie*
* This is the estimated nutritional information per portion including the nutrition as a percentage of an adult’s reference intake. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you want to learn more about how this is calculated.