Mince pies are so simple to make, and are an absolute must come Christmas. These ones combine a ready-made mince meat with a home-made pastry...
- 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
- 100g (4oz) icing sugar, plus extra
- 2 free-range egg yolks
- 2 drops vanilla essence
- 275g (9½oz) plain flour, plus extra
- 400g (14oz) mincemeat
- 1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze
- 24-hole mini muffin tin
- 5cm (2in) round pastry cutter
- small star pastry cutter
- a rolling pin
Add chopped nuts and glacé cherries, or a good slug of brandy or rum to shop-bought mincemeat, and guests will think it's homemade!
If you fancy 'poshing up' your pies then you could serve them with some brandy cream instead of the classic icing sugar flourish. Simple combine a couple of teaspoons of icing sugar with a small tub of extra thick double cream and a good glug of brandy. Finish them off with a little orange zest and people will never guess how quick they were to make!
How To Make Mince Pies
Pulse the butter in a food processor until soft. Sift in the icing sugar and pulse until mixed. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and pulse until there's no streaky yolk. Sift in the flour and pulse again until you can see no flour and the pastry comes together in large flakes. Divide the mix into two, shape into flattish circles in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes.
Once the pastry is chilled and workable, roll out on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out circles with the round cutter and push into the muffin tin. Fill with 1tsp mincemeat, then use the star cutter to make the tops. Chill well.
Heat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, gas 6. Glaze the mince pies with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the mincemeat is bubbling over the sides. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
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