No collection of recipes is complete without one for mince pies, and this is the one that's been keeping our family in the festive spirit since as long as I can remember. More often than not, we just buy them from the shop, but at least once each Christmas we'll make a batch. And every time we do, we remember how easy it is, especially as we always buy the mincemeat! Our kids enjoy getting involved in the pastry cutting process, and we all enjoy the eating process!
- 225 g plain flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 125g butter, cubed
- 100g caster sugar
- zest ½ lemon
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
- ½ jar good mincemeat
- A little cream cheese or marzipan (optional)
- Icing sugar for dusting
1. Put the flour, ground almonds and butter into a bowl (either a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer if you're going to use one.
2. If making them by hand, rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until like breadcrumbs, then add the sugar and zest. If making with a mixer, do the same but let the machine turn it into fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add the egg and milk or water into the dry ingredients, then mix to a firm dough and knead until smooth (by hand or machine).
4. Roll into a ball and put in a bowl, then cover and chill in the fridge for an hour.
5. Pre-heat the oven 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and grease or flour one or two Yorkshire pudding type tins.
6. Roll the pastry out thinly and cut into circles with a cutter approximately 7.5cm (cut some into festive shapes for the tops if you like).
7. Line the tins with a bottom layer of pastry, then add 1 heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Top with a little cream cheese, marzipan or grated apple if you fancy.
8. Brush the edges of the pastry lids with a little water. Place onto pies, and press to seal, then glaze with a little beaten egg if you like. If making traditional full-lidded pies, cut 2 slits to release steam.
9. Cook 15-20 minutes till golden, then cool 3-4 minutes in the tins. Cool fully on a rack, then dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or cold or room temperature.
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