Saturday, 3 December 2016

Classic Mince Pies with A Twist

Star topped Mince Pies


Here's a real classic now that December is upon us. My ultimate mince pies - here I used a little shortcut of shop bought mincemeat, but I jazzed it up with orange, apple and some extra spices. You'd be amazed the difference little touches like that make! Alternatively making your own mincemeat is very straightforward - my recipe is here.
I used a muffin tin to make my mince pies - if you prefer shallower pies, this recipe will make 24 little pies. If you do this, only bake them for 10-15 minutes.

Makes 10 mince pies

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 160g (2/3 cup) butter or margarine, softened
  • 80g (1/3 cup and 1tbsp) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of one orange
  • 1 egg


For the mincemeat:

  • 1 jar mincemeat (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 orange, peeled and the flesh chopped
  • 1 apple (I like a braeburn but any sharp apple will work)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) amaretto (optional)


Method:

1. Make the pastry. Simply add all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, and rub the butter into the rest of the ingredients (this can also be done briefly in a food processor, or by hand). Add a tablespoon of cold water if the mixture is too powdery and isn't coming together into a ball.

2. Using your hands bring the pastry into a smooth ball (where no lumps of butter can be seen). Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200c (180c fan)/400f/gas mark 6. Lightly grease a muffin tin - the easiest way to do this is with some spray oil, but a small amount of butter or margarine will work too. Greasing the tin will make your life 1000x easier when it comes to taking the pies out, believe me!

4. Roll out the pastry between two sheets of cling film, until it about 3mm/1/8 inch thick. Use a 9cm circular fluted cutter to cut out 10 circles for the "case" of the pies. Carefully place into the muffin tin, and trim off any excess pastry with a knife.

5. Make your filling. Mix the mincemeat, chopped orange, apple, cinnamon, ginger, and amaretto, if using, until the segments of orange and apple are evenly distributed throughout the mincemeat.

6. Fill the pastry cases with the mincemeat, so that it fills three quarters of the case. 

7. With the remaining rolled out pastry, cut out stars or other christmassy shapes, and place on the mincemeat filled cases. Sprinkle with caster sugar, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the sides of the pastry are lightly browned.

8. Leave to cool for around 5 minutes before taking out of the tins - the easiest way to do this is to gently press a knife down the side of the pie, releasing it from the tin. The pie should then pop out easily.

9. These are AMAZING served warm with a little cream, but also delicious at room temperature :)

10. Enjoy!

Star Topped Mince Pies

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