Preparing Mince Pies for Christmas

Last week seemed to take a sudden plunge in temperatures, and when my heating broke, I think our house turned into the North Pole! I’ve seen a couple of friends getting festive at home, so to cheer myself up I hopped on the band wagon and decided to start putting up my Christmas decorations. It’s early, I know! It did make me feel much cosier having the twinkling fairy lights on and knowing that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner!

The heating is now back to full working order and our house is like a little oven, which is making me feel even more Christmassy! So, as early as it is, I have carried on my Christmas preparations. I’ll be having a few little gatherings at our house over December which always calls for mince pies and delicious wine to be stocked up ready for guests. Today I decided to make my first mince pies of the season! I had every intention of freezing these ready for later on but they made the house smell so lovely whilst cooking so I think most will be shared with family this evening! I will be making lots more though and they are really handy, if you do want to make your own, to keep in your freezer ready to warm up in the oven over Christmas.

I made my own pastry but you could just use Jus-Roll which is just as lovely (and much easier!) but I didn’t make my own filling. The one I used was Asda Extra Special French Brandy and Ruby Port Mincemeat and this will keep for 6 weeks in the fridge once open. This recipe makes enough for 12 canapé-sized mince pies which are perfect bite-sized treats for parties. For larger ones, double up the ingredients.

To make the mince pies, you will need:
225g flour
100g butter
A pinch of salt
40g sugar

Make the butter and flour into bread crumbs in a bowl. Then add 3 tablespoons of water and knead until it forms a dough. If it isn’t sticking together, just keep adding the smallest amounts of water until it does. Place the dough on a floured surface and continue to knead for another few minutes. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

When your dough is ready, roll it out on a floured surface until quite thin but so it doesn’t break when you lift it. Smear your tin with a little butter so that the pies don’t stick. Take a small round cookie cutter and make enough discs for all of your cake tin holes. Fill with about a teaspoon of mincemeat then using another cookie cutter, make lids for your mince pies. I used a star cutter to make them look extra festive!

Pop in the oven at 180 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Place on a wire rack and leave them to cool before you eat them as the mincemeat will be very hot! If you are going to freeze them, allow them to completely cool before putting them in a plastic box. Otherwise, enjoy with some brandy butter, a drizzle of cream or a blob of vanilla ice cream.

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