I love a good mince pie. How could you not love a festive, icing sugar topped tender pastry, enveloping a deeply comforting warm mix of fruit, candied peel, spice, even some nuts and brandy. There’s the additional joy of being able to eat one you made yourself, still warm from your oven.
I found a jar of Tiptree brand mince filling in my supermarket. My favourite store-bought jams are Tiptree, so into my basket that jar went. I do need to caveat though, that the Tiptree mince ended up being very treacly (for want of a better word) and almost too alcoholic (never thought I’d ever say those words) for my liking. I have since found that Marks & Spencer do a mince filling which is Red-Riding-hood just right.
Nigel Slater has a really easy recipe that I used – I used a variety of tart cases rather than a tart tin just because I don’t own a tart tin, and perhaps my pastry was thicker, I only managed to make 12.
Ingredients makes about 12 – 18 tarts, depending on thickness of your pastry
- 150g unsalted
- 300g plain flour
- good pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- a little cold water
- 375g good-quality mincemeat
- icing sugar for dusting
- Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour in a food processor. Pulse until you have what looks like coarse, fresh breadcrumbs
- Add the salt and pulse to mix
- Add the egg yolk and pulse again to mix well
- Add just enough cold water to bring the dough together. Add one teaspoon at a time – it’s surprising how little you actually need
- Bring the dough together on to a floured board and knead gently for a few minutes until it softens
- Reserve half of the dough, then roll the remainder to about 5 mm
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F
- Cut out 12 discs of pastry to fit the bottom of your tart tray/tart cases. Place the pastry in the bottom of your case, smoothing them up the sides so the edges stand very slightly above the top of the edge
- Fill each one with a dollop of mincemeat. Be generous.
- Roll out the remaining pastry and make a further 12 discs of pastry
- Slightly dampen each of these round the edge with cold water then lay them over each tart and press firmly to seal the edges.
- Cut a small slit in the centre of each pie and bake for 20 minutes till golden
- Let them calm down for a few minutes, then serve warm, dusted with icing sugar
- Store any leftover pies in an airtight container