Nothing says Christmas quite like a home-baked mince pie fresh out of the oven, so we’re going to share our favourite recipe with you. Don’t worry, it is so simple to do and will leave the whole family envious of your cookery skills! Cheap and easy to make, these mince pies are perfect for bringing the family together — once you’ve tried these you’ll never go back to the shop bought version. Firstly though, you must remember the importance of a clean oven, it’s the mince pies you want crispy, not any dirt inside!
How to make the ‘Mince’ for Mince Pies:
As you (hopefully) already know, mince pies don’t contain mincemeat anymore, the name is simply a relic from an earlier and meatier version of the same dish. Nowadays we make a sweeter version of ‘mincemeat’ from fruits, sugars and spices. This delicious recipe is cheap and only takes a couple of minutes to make.
Ingredients, for the ‘Mince’
1 bramley apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces
125g candied peel, roughly chopped
225g vegetarian suet
175g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
1 orange, zest and juice
60ml brandy (don’t worry — the kids won’t be able to taste it)
Method, for the ‘Mince’
- Take a couple of leftover glass jars, from mayonnaise or jam or anything, and clean them thoroughly with water that has been boiled, but isn’t so hot that it will crack the glass.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, then transfer the mixture into the glass jars.
- Store in a cool dark place until you want to use it (it will last two – three weeks like this).
How to make your own Pastry in the oven:
Now most mince pies use a basic shortcrust pastry, but these mince pies are going to have your neighbours banging on the door for more… These are going to be the best mince pies you’ve ever eaten, so we are going to make a very simple rough puff pastry. Don’t be alarmed by what you might have seen on the Great British Bake Off, this is a super quick method, that still blows you away with puffed up buttery goodness.
Ingredients, for a simple rough puff pastry:
250g salted butter
500ml ice cold water
250g plain white flour, plus a little more to flour the surfaces and rolling pin
Method, for making the simple rough puff pastry:
The most important thing to remember with puff pastry is to keep the ingredients as cold as possible. Why you ask? Cold butter doesn’t melt (it is solid) and so it can mix with the flour properly, instead of melting and oozing out of your dough.
- Put three quarters of the pat of butter in the freezer, you want it to be frozen solid.
- Measure out the flour and put it in a bowl.
- Take the other quarter of your butter and chop it into tiny cubes, the smaller the better.
- Mix the butter with the flour until you have no lumps and you’ve created a nice crumble-like consistency.
- Take the water out of the fridge (even better if you have chilled it in the freezer first).
- Slowly add a little water at a time until the dough comes together. It will be soft but not sticky, this is very important. You can add a little more flour if you do make it too wet. Note: you will not need all of the water, so just add a little at a time.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface so it resembles a long rectangle, 8 cm wide and 1.5 cm thick (it doesn’t matter how long).
- Fold one third over at one end, then the other third over at the other end, wrap it in cling film (or a plastic bag) and put in the freezer to chill for five to ten minutes. Note: be careful not to freeze it!
- Take the butter and the dough out of the freezer, unfold the dough and grate some of the frozen butter onto it. Fold the dough in on itself like you did in step 8, and roll it out like you did in step 7.
- Put the dough back in the freezer and repeat steps 8, 9 and 10 two more times, until you’ve used all the butter. The last time you roll the dough out, put it back in the fridge, keep it chilled and use it within a week (the sooner the better).
Making the Extra Indulgent Mince Pies:
Ingredients, for the Mince Pies:
Homemade mincemeat, as above
Homemade rough puff pastry, as above
2 eggs yolks mixed with a little milk to finish the pies
Method, for the Mince Pies:
- Preheat your recently cleaned oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Mix the egg yolks and a little milk together with a fork and set aside in a bowl.
- Use the butter to grease your baking tray.
- Roll out the chilled pastry.
- Cut circles of pastry (using a glass or mug as a template) large enough to fit the baking tray and place them in.
- Fill each pastry shell with mincemeat, just enough so that the top is flat with the top of the pastry shell.
- Cut out one lid for each of your filled pastry shells
- With a small brush, or just your fingers, brush a little of the egg mixture around the edge of the pastry shell.
- Place the lids on top of the filled shells and then brush a little more of the egg mixture on top, just to give it a lovely golden, crispy finish.
- Put the whole tray into the fridge and chill for five to ten minutes before you put them into the oven.
- Bake for twenty minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffy. Don’t worry if any of the mincemeat leaks from the lids, they will still taste delicious!
And there you have it! The best mince pies you’ve ever eaten… With Christmas fast approaching, you’ll want to make sure your oven is a clean as possible to prevent any accidents while you’re baking. Contact us here, or give us a call on 0115 846 1156 to arrange an appointment, we are fully booked until Christmas, but make it your New Year’s resolution to have the cleanest oven around!