Advent Calendar – Day 7 – Mince Pies

Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 45 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Mins

Mince pies can be traced back to the 13th Century and would have tasted quite different to the ones we have today. Originally containing a hefty amount of meat, the process of then stewing this filling with fruits and alcohol was a way of preserving the mincemeat (and the spices helped disguise any gone-off flavours). These days the meat filling has disappeared from mince pies, leaving a spiced, fruity filling that tastes just like Christmas.

Top Tip: Make your mincemeat as you like it! If you like things boozy, add more booze! If you like it sweeter, add more sugar! Mincemeat is the personal aspect of a mince pie, so feel free to play with the recipe – it’s the pastry you don’t want to mess around with.

Written by Poppy Joyce (ICwS, PhD Candidate)

Ingredients

0/17 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the pastry
  • For the mincemeat

Instructions

0/7 Instructions
  • Put the zest and juice in a pan with the grated apple and mix. Add the butter, alcohol, dried fruit and spices, then cook for about 45 mins over a low heat, remembering to stir frequently. It’s ready once the apple has broken down, the dried fruit has plumped up and all the liquid has evaporated.
  • Let your mincemeat cool, then stir in the sugar and nuts.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
  • Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour (+ salt, if using) with your fingertips until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Anyone who has watched bake-off will know that the trick with pastry is that it likes to be cold, so if you have cold hands you have an advantage. Alternatively you can pulse it together in a food processor, but take care not to over-beat or it can become tough.
  • Add the egg yolk, then add 1-2 tbsp water and bring to a smooth dough. Bring the dough together into a firm ball, then knead it gently on a floured board for a couple of minutes until it softens.
  • Split the dough in half and roll out one half thinly. Using cookie cutters or the top of an espresso cup, cut out 18 discs of pastry and place them in the tartlet tins, smoothing them up the sides so the edges stand slightly above the tin. Fill each one with a dollop of mincemeat.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden, then dust with icing sugar.

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