Christmas in California prompted the start of what has become my ‘Baking Buzz’ for 2011. Americans don’t eat mince pies (!) I know. I couldn’t believe it either. Imagine with all the Irish & British living over here, you think it would have caught on by now! I think I need to start a trend. Mince pies are a necessity (for me) during the holidays & rightly so – what on earth would Santa think come Christmas Eve?! Served on their own or with cream/custard/ice-cream they really are simply scrumptious.
I was home two weeks before Crimbo so stocked up on a few jars of ‘Chivers Mincemeat’ (which is basically a fruit preserve (v) for those who have never heard/seen or tasted it. You can make this yourself but at home you can get in in jars for handiness!) and brought them back bubble-wrapped safely in my luggage. They did cause suspicion mind and one jar was unwrapped and inspected at customs along with my Lyons tea stash. Blank faces then approved my sneaky food supplies, (phew!) they had already moved on to a Swedish lady with a huge salami (now that’s definitely
And so the recipe goes
100g / 3 1/2 oz butter – plus a tiny bit extra for greasing.
200g / 7 oz plain flour – plus extra for dusting
25g / 1 oz icing sugar – plus extra for dusting
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons of milk – plus extra for glazing
300g / 10 1/2 oz mincemeat
A Tartlet tin (mine was a 12-hole one) , two fluted cutters (3 inch & 2 1/2 inch), a pastry brush & rolling pin
*Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4 & grease your tin well with the ‘extra’ butter*
Sift the flour into a bowl & then using you fingertips, rub in the remaining butter until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar & egg yolk. Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface & knead lightly until smooth.
Roll your dough into a smooth ball & roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Use the bigger (3 inch) cutter to to cut out 12 rounds (flouring the cutters in between each round) and line the tartlet tin making little cases.
Half-fill each ‘case’ with mincemeat. Cut out a further 12 rounds from the remaining dough using the smaller (2 1/2 inch) cutter to make lids for your pies. Using the pastry brush, glaze each lid before placing on top of each pie.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins until the pastry is a golden colour (times may vary depending on your oven )
Remove from the oven & cool on a wire rack. Don’t forget to dust with the ‘extra’ icing sugar before serving.