Despite the name these sweet pies are filled with delicious sticky fruit and lots of christmassy spices! I didn’t used to be the biggest fan, but over the years mince pies have definitely grown on me and now sitting down with a hot mince pie and ice cream while watching a christmas film has become one of my festive traditions.
I feel like I have definitely cheated a bit with this recipe, admittedly I did not make my pastry, but if you have got the time I would definitely recommend you do, nothing beats flaky, buttery homemade short crust. However, whilst I may have taken a few short cuts with these minceys they are still 100 times better than the shop bought pies which, lets be honest, are quite often a bit dry and bland.
375 g shortcrust pastry
200 g good-quality mincemeat
a splash of brandy, sherry or orange juice
½ an apple , peeled and chopped into teeny chunks
75 g dried cranberries
50 g dried apricots , finely chopped
a pinch or two of mixed spice
1 large free-range or organic egg
unsalted butter , for greasing
First pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and lightly grease a shallow cup cake tray. Then roll out the (guilty not homemade) pastry, by all means make your own! Patiently cut out 12 circles and lay them in the tray and pop them in the fridge for as long as it takes to make the festive filling.
Put all of the mince meat, again sorry not homemade, but adding a few extras makes it taste as if you slaved away for hours making it from scratch. Add a splash of brandy or orange juice, your choice, and stir in all the dried fruit and diced apple. Finally add the spices and mix well. I add some fresh ginger to add a kick, but you could always use stem ginger or just leave it out all together.
Now for the pie lids, you can get really creative with this part, but I just went with simple stars. Roll out the pastry again to about the thickness of a pound coin and cut out 12 shapes of your choice. Take the pastry bases out of the fridge and pack them with the shiny delicious filling, lay the lids on top and brush them with an egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden.
While they are still slightly warm pile them all up and add some snow to their golden peaks. Apparently every mince pie you eat over christmas equals a good month in the new year, so thats an excuse to get at least 12 down you!