Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas special #9: Mince pies

Photo by Elena Heatherwick

It really is very Stepford to make your own mince pies, so this one is for home baking enthusiasts only. Or for anyone who basically never, ever sees their family or does any cooking and is desperately trying to over-compensate.

Anyway having said all that mince pies are really easy. I do my mince pies in a slightly controversial way, in that I make them quite small and I make them with puff pastry and not shortcrust pastry.

I'm sure you all know the difference, but for any newcomers, puff pastry is like what vol-au-vents and savoury pie toppings are usually made off - sort of flaky n stuff know what I'm saying? And shortcrust pastry is what you get in a quiche, or on top of a fruit pie.

You can make up a quantity of puff pastry using Hugh F-W's recipe, which I've written about, with photographs, in this post: http://reciperifle.blogspot.com/2010/11/mrs-corens-chicken-pie.html

That makes quite a lot. Even though you can just wrap up the leftovers and put in the freezer for another time, if you don't want that much puff pastry hanging about, then make it in half or even quarter quantities.

To assemble the mince pies you will need:

1 fairy cake tray
1 jar of mincemeat - I get mine from WAITROSE - one 410g jar of mincemeat will do about a dozen small pies.
1 quantity puff pastry
pastry cutters of your choice. I put stars on mine because I put stars on everything. I even have some stars tattooed on my person - although I'm in the middle of trying to get them taken off because tattoos are just like SO over
1 beaten egg to glaze
icing sugar

1 Roll out your pastry quite thin, like 3 mm, as it will puff up on cooking

2 Grease your fairy cake tin thoroughly as what will happen otherwise is that the mincemeat will bubble up and over the top of your pastry and superglue the little buggers to the tray and you will have to chip them out with a hammer and chisel

3 Cut out with a round cutter your pie bases and settle them into the fairy cake dips, fill with mincemeat and lay the festively-shaped lid of your choosing on top. Brush with eggwash

4 Bake in a 180C oven for 25 minutes

5 Eat hot, or reheat for 10 mins before eating and dust with icing sugar.

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