12.15.2011

Mince Pie Recipe

Mince Pies are rum or brandy infused fruit fillings encrusted in a soft buttery casing. Like Christmas pudding these are treats synonymous with English Christmas traditions. The name ‘Mince Pies’ suggests this pie contains meat-on the contrary they do not contain any minced meat as such but rather a filling made from dried fruit. Some recipes do contain animal suet (animal fat from around the liver and loins) and or treacle. If you are vegetarian or not a fan of beef meat products then be sure to read the labels before you buy mince pies.


For this recipe I have used vegetable suet. Similar vegetarian substitutes include margarine or similar plant fats or omitting suet from the recipe. Ideally the filling for mince pies should be made a week or two before you intend making mince pies. Much like Christmas Cake, the mince pie filling requires curing time. The crust of this mince pie recipe is a very simple one inspired by shortbread. The result is super soft yet flaky mince pie. Another added advantage of making your own mince pies is that you can control the amount of sugar added etc. You can use ready made filling available in the baking section of most supermarkets or you can make your own filling.



Mince Pie Filling
Quantity: Enough to fill a 500ml jar
  • 150 g currants
  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 1 granny smith apple peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed spice powder
  • 75g vegetable suet (grated)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g brown sugar or 2 tablespoons treacle
  • 75ml rum or brandy 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional. Cherries
Method:

1. Grate the apple and suet.
2. Combine all ingredients then place in n airtight jar. Top with the bay leaf. Leave in room temperature for up to 2 weeks before baking mince pies.
Recipe adapted from : Sandham Family Recipe


Mince Pie Pastry Recipe
Quantity: Makes 15 (3cm diameter) mince pies

This pastry recipe was inspired by shortbread biscuits rather than conventional tart pastry. I prefer mince pies to have a soft melt in the mouth texture. I also added less sugar than shortbread requires.


Ingredients
  • 170g cold butter or similar vegetable fat
  • 240g flour
  • 50g sugar
  • Half teaspoon salt
  • Icing sugar for dusting
Method:

1. Cut the butter in to small squares. Add the flour. Combine to form soft dough. Do not add any water. The dough has to be kneaded for 5-10 minutes until a soft cookie dough texture forms.


2. Roll then cut out circles to fit your muffin pan or tart cups. Be sure to grate the pan or else the pies will be difficult to remove from the pan.

3. Depending on the size of the pies you are making place between 1-2 teaspoons of filling into each pie. I used a 3cm diameter cups so 1 teaspoon of mince pie filling was sufficient.

4. Roll and cut the top layer for the pies. Brush the side of the pie with water this will help the top layer to bind to the pie.


5. Make indents with a toothpick; this will allow the steam to escape while cooking
6. Bake in for 15 -20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until slightly browned.


7. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely before removing form the oven.
8. Top with icing sugar. Serve as desired.


Non Alcoholic Mince Pies 

If you want to make non alcoholic mince pies then make the pie filling on the day you instead making the pies. Simply omit the brandy from the recipe and use orange juice instead of lemon juice.

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