I absolutely love mince pies but it wasn’t until Darcey asked for “those cakes with all the stuff inside” (and it took quite a while to work out what she was talking about) that I even decided to give it a go. I did the usual, looked through a ton of baking books, blogs and websites and they all had various amounts of fruit/ butter/ sugar / BRANDY!!! Some sounded too sweet and some too boozy – they are for Darcey after all. So, rather than follow one recipe I decided to just go with the flow and grab whatever I had in my store cupboard. I bought a bag of mixed fruit but everything else was from my cupboard.
So whether you are making mince pies or adding some boozy juicy raisins to a cake as I am planning to do, here is a really moist and tasty mince meat recipe.
- 500g mixed fruit (raisins, sultanas, mixed peel- you can make up any combination as long as it’s the same weight)
- 60g dried apricots
- 50g dried dates
- 125g butter
- 160g dark brown sugar
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
- juice and rind of an orange and lemon
- 1 tbsp brandy
To make the mincemeat…
- Measure all the ingredients except the brandy into a large saucepan and place over a low heat. Stir continuously until the butter has melted.
- Keep stirring for a further 5 minutes to slowly cook the fruits.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat then add the brandy and mix it in well. Leave to cool in the saucepan.
- Once completely cold store in an air tight container and allow the alcohol to really sink into the fruit for at least 24 hours before using in a pie.
Shortcrust pastry recipe
- 250g plain flour
- 140g cold butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 egg white – for brushing the pies before baking
How to make shortcrust pastry
- Sieve the flour into a bowl
- Cut up the butter into small cubes then rub into the flour to form a breadcrumb consistency.
- Mix the water and egg yolks together then pour into a well in the bowl and mix into the flour/egg mix with a knife.
- Keep mixing until well blended but don’t over mix or the dough will become tough and you’ll loose that light, light texture.
- Bring all the crumbs together with your hands then wrap the dough in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
To make the mince pies
- Lightly dust the wells in a fairy cake baking tray with flour. Heat your oven to 180ºC (160 fan)
- Roll out the chilled dough and cut out thin circles that are just a little bit bigger than the fairy cake wells in the tin. Place each disk of dough into a well and press down to make the pie base.
- Fill the case with mincemeat.
- Cut out a shape to go on the top of each mince pie. I made snowflakes but anything goes, just remember that if you are completely covering the top of the pie put a few holes in the top for the steam from the fruit to escape from.
- Brush the top of each mince pie with a little egg white to give it a nice sheen when it’s baked.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
- Leave the pies to cool for 10 minutes in the tray before removing them and eating while still warm or place on a cooling rack to cool completely. You can dust them with icing sugar too.
- Either way devour!
So, what are you making for Christmas this year? I’d love to know.