Mince Pies

Makes 18 - 20

I admit it - I am Smug about my mince pies! They are short, buttery and worth breaking every diet in the world for. One is a feast, two are almost too much. I like them warm or cold, with cream, custard or ice cream. I always used to lift the lid of a mince pie and slip a sliver of Stilton inside, but there really is no need... You can prepare the mince pies and freeze them uncooked, in the bun trays, if you wish. They can be cooked from frozen with great success, as you will see below. I like to make a couple of batches on Christmas Eve, bake one straight away and freeze the others for later in the holiday.

  • 400g flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250g butter, slightly chilled
  • 1 large egg
  • About 650g mincemeat
  • Caster sugar for dredging
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 190℃, 375°F. Lightly butter 2 sheets of bun trays.
  2. Measure the flour and sugar into a bowl and add the butter, cut into tiny pieces. Start rubbing the butter into the flour, then add the beaten egg and continue until the pastry has formed a stiff paste. This is easiest to do with a table mixer, or by pulsing in a food processor.
  3. Bring the pastry into a ball in your hand, then knead it gently on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out ⅔ of the pastry into a large circle about 5-6mm thick, then cut out 7cm and 6cm circles, re-rolling the pastry as necessary. You’ll need at least 18-20 of each size from this amount of pastry.  Carefully press the larger circles into the bases of the bun tins.
  4. Fill the pies with mincemeat - a heaped teaspoon or a little more in each. Damp the edges of the pastry lids with water, use them to cover the mincemeat and press them gently to seal with the pastry bases. 
  5. Bake the pies in the centre of the hot oven for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Dredge with caster sugar in the tins, then remove to a wire rack to cool. Alternatively, freeze the pies in the bun trays. Cook from frozen as required, placing them in a preheated oven at gas mark 7, 225℃, 425°F for 15 minutes and then reducing the heat to gas mark 5, 190℃, 375°F for a further 10 minutes.

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