- Holidays and Celebrations
How To Make Traditional Mince Pies
When First Advent arrives, it signifies the time to bake my first batch of mince pies.
Families have been making and eating them in the UK at this festive season for many years. Many a Father Christmas has found a mince pie with a glass of sherry at the bottom of the chimney on Christmas Eve and they are sure to be handed out at Christmas parties, fayres and markets across the country!
I have been baking my own mince pies for many years
I even managed to keep them going whilst living in Germany, where we couldn't buy them in the shops as we could in the UK. I learned to bake them with my mother first and then carried on with my own children.
I love the crisp, buttery pastry and the rich flavours of sweet fruit and spices in the filling.
Of course the pastry improves with practice. At the beginning, it was best kept nice and thin as it wasn't exactly light and crispy as it is today. Over the years I have learned to add just the right amount of water so that I handle it as little as possible, but at the beginning it was a scene of sweaty hands covered in flour (too much of which kept getting added to the sticky dough in order to roll it out, but leaving it too hard!)
Adding the mincemeat was often left for the children to do, but using the right amount also comes with practice: too much and it leaks out of the pastry, creating a sticky mess in the tin and too little leaves everyone asking whether you ran out of mincemeat.
The final touch of a glaze will give that attractive look to your mince pies,
But don't fiddle around too long. They will need to get into that hot oven as soon as possible!
I made my mince pies last weekend just as my family were arriving home. The aroma of them baking in the oven is always so welcoming and makes you feel that Christmas is on it's way.
Now where is the mulled wine?
Cook Time: 15mins
Prep Time: 20-30mins
Total Time: 40mins
- 400 g plain flour
- 200 soft butter
- 1 jar (about 1lb) mincemeat
- Milk/egg wash to glaze
- Pre-heat the oven to Gas 7 (220C)
- Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour. When mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, add enough cold water to make a soft, but not sticky dough that holds together.
- Cut the dough into two pieces, one half a little larger than the other. Roll out the larger piece and cut out 18-20 bases with a round, fluted cutter to fit bun tins. Check after the first one that it looks the right thickness, before continuing with the others.
- Repeat with the smaller half for the tops, reserving the cut-out rounds until after the next step.
- Fill each one with a spoonful of mincemeat.
- Dip your finger into cold water and gently run it around the top of each pastry base, before adding the tops and pressing them down gently to seal.
- Make a slit in the top of each to allow steam to escape.
- Brush the tops with either a little milk or some beaten egg, or a mixture of both.
- Place immediately on the top shelf of a hot oven and bake for 15 minutes until just beginning to turn golden.
- When cooked, take care of any leaked mincemeat (which can burn) and carefully release any that have done so before they stick to the tin. Leave the rest in the tin to cool or enjoy your mince pies warm from the oven!