Monday, 8 December 2008

Traditional mince pies

Mincemeat is a Christmas essential in the UK, it just wouldn't be Christmas without it. Made from a boozy mixture of fruits, spices, sugar and alcohol it's most common use is in traditional mince pies.

It is a good idea to have a good supply of these on hand, ready for unexpected Christmas visitors. They are delicious served still warm and even better with an unhealthy amount of brandy butter and a generous glass of mulled wine!
My home-made mince pies

So here it is, the recipe for mincemeat. Possibly the easiest recipe ever!

Mincemeat (makes around 4lb)

12 oz Apples – Grated
2 oz chopped mixed peel
18 oz mixed dried fruit, e.g. raisins, currants and sultanas
6 oz shredded suet (I used vegetarian suet)
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp mace
1 oz flaked almonds
6 oz soft brown sugar
Zest and juice of a lemon and an orange
2 ½ tbspn Brandy or rum


Put all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl and stir until well mixed. It should look something like this.
Pack the mixture into sterilised jars and leave to mature for at least 1 week. It will become darker and stickier over time. (It should keep for quite a few months)

Mince pies

For the best flavour use and all butter pastry for making mince pies, it has the best flavour.

I can't remember where I found this recipe but it is excellent. Makes enough pastry for 24 pies.

All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies (Pâte Brisée)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
4 to 6 Tbsp ice water


Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and salt until well incorporated.
Drop by drop add the ice water and work into a dough, try to handle the mixture as little as possible.
Rest the pastry in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
To make mince pies

Preheat your oven to 350f/180c/gas 4.

Roll out a third of your pastry, using a pastry cutter cut 24 discs of pastry and line two twelve hole shallow pie trays.

Place a teaspoon of mincemeat in each pastry case.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out smaller discs for the pie lid, top each case with a pastry lid.

Dust the pies with icing sugar and bake for around thirty minutes or until golden brown.

What foods do you cook for Christmas?


Christina said...

Those are amazing! I love the little tarts with the circle of top crust. My dad would like this recipe. A very long time ago, my mom made a mincemeat pie with actual beef and my dad said, "What." Heh!

Concerning Christmas baking, I make a variety of cookies for gifts and family as well as a panettone for Christmas breakfast, and Mom always makes bizcotchos and a plum pudding for Christmas dessert.

The Caked Crusader said...

Great looking pies - pastry looks fab.
I don't like mincemeat but always end up making loads of mincemeat based treats because everyone else does. This year I'm going to try a Swiss recipe for mincemeat rolls (as in Swiss roll rather than something you put ham and cheese in!)

Beth said...

I love mince pies - the more booze the better. I always put a good lug of brandy in my mincemeat

Joanna said...

Sounds like the party's at your place ... those look yummy


Katie said...

Hooorah. Im making my first batch of mince pies tomorrow, although Ill prob just be slack and buy mincemeat from the supermarket and then lace it with extra booze.

Rachel said...

So cute and tasty looking. Well done!

Amanda said...

Very pretty pies, Sam!

Hopie said...

"Unexpected Christmas visitors" - I love that. I imagine you sitting there in a cozy kitchen with your mince pies and a string of jolly red-cheeked visitors arriving out of the cold for a cup of tea ;-) Too bad I live so far away because those pies look good!

Margaret said...

Why would anyone ever buy a mince pie? They look wonderful.

Pam said...

So cute! Here is another dessert that I've never tried before. These look so tasty and the ingredients are fantastic. Great job Sam.

gastroanthropologist said...

Hey Sam - any idea why its called "mincemeat"? Coming from the states I had thought mincemeat had real meat in it for the longest time. These are really cute pies - and look so much more appetizing than the ones I've been seeing in the stores.

Sam said...

Christina: Thanks! I'm intrigued, what are bizcotchos?

The Caked Crusader: Thanks! It's a shame for you that you don't like it but the mincemeat roll sounds really interesting.

Beth: Absolutely, I put a very generous splash of rum in these!

Joanna: Thanks! Come on over!

Katie: That's what I do most of the time, I like my mince pies very boozy!

Rachel and Amanda: Thanks!

Hopie: You'd be surprised how often that happens!

Margaret: I agree, home made are much nicer and so easy to make.

Pam: You're missing out, they're delicious! If you ever get the chance, try one. Or make some!

Gastroanthropologist: You're not far wrong, mince pies did contain meat once but over time the recipe has changed into what we have now.

They used to be more of a savoury option, a kind of spiced meat pie.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I love brandy butter! And your pies look so cute!
It wouldn't be Christmas at my house without gingerbread, and my husband insists on rum cake. We're thinking of cooking a goose for Christmas dinner this year!

mikky said...

looks so great... :)

Andrea said...

I've never had mincemeat, never in any form. If I could, I'd be one of those unexpected guests and let you give me some! ;-)

Joie de vivre said...

These look wonderful. I'm so glad you posted this and so glad I checked your blog on a rainy afternoon on vacation! Your black forest cake also looks amazing. You just made it just because? Man, you know how to eat. :)

Foodycat said...

I love mince pies! I had my first one of the season on Wednesday. Doesn't feel like Christmas until I have had one.

We're always away for Christmas, so I don't have any tried-and-true recipes. I do love my grandmother's rumballs though.

Kevin said...

Those look good! I am going to have to try mincemeat.