Mince pies will be putting in their annual appearance in our homes this Christmas.
But the question is do you add an egg to your pastry or not? Do you make your own mincemeat or take it straight from a store-bought jar? And do you cover the filling completely or decorate it with a pastry-fashioned star or holly?
There are just so many different ways of creating a mince pie but each one will give you that spicy aroma that says Christmas.
And however they’re made they are always best served warm and fresh from the oven!
The traditional filling of a mince pie includes raisins, sultanas, apricots, glace cherries, candied fruit peel, apples and nuts and spices.
Did you know that there are even superstitions that revolve around mince pies? For example, it was considered to be good luck to eat a mince pie on each of the 12 days of Christmas through to January 6th and that the mincemeat mixture should always be stirred anti-clockwise!
Mince pies became popular in the 16th Century and were originally oval-shaped to represent the manger that the baby Jesus was laid in. They became a status symbol in the Stuart and Georgian periods too with the pies created in all sorts of different shapes.
Now you’ll find children often leaving a mince pie out for Father Christmas along with a carrot for Rudolph.
We’ve discovered this recipe for mince pies from Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood which gives you a deep-filled pie. It’s made with a muffin tray, a round pastry cutter and a fluted pastry cutter for the tops.
For the pastry
• 375g/13oz plain flour
• 250g/9oz butter, softened
• 125g/4oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 1 medium free-range egg
For the filling
• 2 x 400g/14oz jars mincemeat
• 2 tangerines, zest grated and flesh chopped
• 1 apple, finely diced
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. To make the sweet pastry, rub the flour, butter, sugar and egg together with a splash of cold water until it comes together as a dough. Then wrap the pastry in cling film and set aside to chill in the fridge while you make the filling. It can be tempting to skip the fridge step but don’t. By popping the pastry into the fridge you allow it to relax and it should then not shrink as it cooks.
2. To make the filling, turn the mincemeat out into a bowl, grate the zest of the tangerines into the mincemeat, then peel and chop the fruit. Throw the tangerine and apple pieces into the bowl and blend by hand.
3. Roll out the pastry to a 3mm/1/8in thickness. With a round pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 9cm/3½in discs of pastry. Press the pastry into the muffin cups and fill each one with a good helping of the mincemeat mixture, so that it reaches three-quarters of the way up the side of the pastry-lined cup.
4. With a fluted pastry cutter, cut out 6 x 8cm/3¼ in pastry circles for the lids (slightly bigger than the top of the muffin cups). Place a lid on top of each pie and gently push down. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with fresh cream.
Let us know if you try this recipe and love it! We think you can’t beat a deep-filled mince pie.