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Make Perfect Mince Pies This Christmas

ao - mince pies - alex outhwaiteChristmas just isn’t Christmas without the smell of mince pies cooking in the oven.  These small, moreish tasty treats are a staple in my home as soon as they can be found on supermarket shelves.

However, there’s nothing to beat the homemade variety, no supermarket mince pie, tastie as they are, can make your whole house smell so Christmassy.

We were delighted when Alex Outhwaite from ao.com sent us over her recipe for mince pies.

Serves: Makes 12 pies
Cooking Time: 25 – 30 min
Prep Time: 30 min (plus 30 min pastry chilling time)
Oven Temperature Fan Assisted: 180 degrees
Gas: Mark 6
Conventional: 200 degrees

Ingredients: You can find all of these at Tesco.com

  • 100g plain white flour
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ao - mince pies-what youll need50g unsalted butter
  • 50g lard or vegetable shortening (e.g. Trex)
  • Cold water (up to around 2 tbsp)
  • Mincemeat – 1 hefty, heaped teaspoon per pie.
  • 1 beaten egg, to glaze

You will also need:

  • A shallow, 12 bun baking tin, greased
  • One 7.5cm and one 6cm fluted, round pastry cutter
  • Small cookie cutter in whatever shape you like – star, holly leaf, snowflake etc
  • Pastry brush

And here’s how it’s done…

1. First, sift the flours and salt into a large mixing bowl (or food processor). The higher you can hold the sieve, the better, as this will help to make the pastry light.  Cut the butter and shortening into little cubes and drop them into the bowl of flour. Rub the fats into the flour using your fingertips (or whizz the lot in the processor using the standard blade), until it resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Add the water gradually, while using a knife or metal spatula to bring the mixture together until it forms a dough and comes cleanly away from the bowl – you’ll need to use your hands once it starts to bind. Again, if you’re using a processor, gradually add the water into the funnel with the motor running, and just whizz it until the dough comes together and starts to thump around the bowl.

ao - mince pies rubbing in

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20 – 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven now.

3. When you’re ready to make the pies, roll out the pastry on a floured surface til it’s nice and thin. Now cut out 12 bases with the large, round cutter. Using the smaller round cutter, cut six lids (you may need to re-roll the pastry).  Now take your star/snowflake/holly cutter and press it into the middle of each lid to cut out the shape, leaving you with 12 lids – 6 shapes, and 6 circles with a shaped hole.ao - mince pies in tin

4. Gently press the bases into the greased tin, and fill with a generous teaspoon of mincemeat. Dampen the edges of the pastry bases on six of the pies, and press the larger lids into place. Pop the smaller, shaped lids onto the mincemeat on the other six.

5. Brush the pies all over with beaten egg, to glaze, then slide the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  When the pies are done, lever them gently out of the tin with a knife, and cool on a wire rack.ao - mince pies

6. Top them with a dab of brandy butter if you fancy, and serve with mulled wine or cider, or a glass of sherry.  They also go fantastically well with cheese – especially a good strong cheddar or stilton – making them a great option to end a festive meal.

These will keep in a tin for at least a week, so it’s worth making a batch and keeping them on hand for any Christmas occasion – they can be warmed through in the oven or microwave.

Do you have a favourite recipes for mince pies that you use every year?  Get in touch below and share it with our readers.

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