Mega merry Christmas mince pies

At a glance

Preparation time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

We had a work Christmas party last week – by Zoom, natch, because Covid. And the party included a cooking class with a mince pies class with the recipe emailed to us in advance. Because I am both a goody-goody and the naughtiest girl in school, I diligently made my fruit mince filling the weekend before but I freestyled with the ingredients to the point where I made it my own. At the end of the party, I had just seven weird little mince pies and a shedload of leftover filling so I got to work in my kitchen laboratory to create a recipe whereby you can either make way more than seven pies or make one big mince pie. Eagle-eyed Twitter followers of Munching Matilda may have spotted my amateur giant mince pie photography the other day. I can assure it was very good and we have been eating it all week with lashings of vanilla yoghurt.

As an aside, I cannot be the only person who, when they first tried a mince pie as a kid, was baffled as to why there was no meat in it… I suspect I was hoping for something more like Sam’s party pies. Click here for the recipe.

Ingredients

For the fruit mince

50g mixed peel

50g desiccated coconut

150g currants

100g finely chopped dates

50g flaked almonds

2-3 pieces of stem ginger

200g light brown sugar

50g halved glacé cherries

1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Zest of two lemons

1 apple, grated

2 tablespoons of grated butter (chilled or frozen in advance)

5 tablespoons of whisky

For the pastry

250g plain flour

200g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

100g icing sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks

 

Instructions

  1. First, make the fruit mince. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
  2. For the pastry, put the flour, butter, salt and icing sugar in a bowl and mix together with your fingers until it has a breadcrumby texture.
  3. Add the egg yolks to the mix. Work them in with a table knife and then mix with your fingers, squeezing and squishing it to combine well into a dough.
  4. Knead and form a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes or so. Do not put it in the freezer and forget about it…
  5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  6. Grease either enough muffin tins to make around 20 pies or one large flan or pie tin or dish.
  7. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface until it’s about 3mm thick.
  8. For individual pies, cut circles of pastry with a glass and line the muffin tin holes with each disc.
  9. For one big pie, use the tin or dish as a template to cut out a large circle of pastry. Line the tin or dish and push gently to the sides. Don’t worry if you make holes – just pinch it gently together with your fingers.
  10. Fill the pie or pies with the minced fruit. For individual pies, fill about three-quarters of each pastry cup. For the big pie, use as much as you can. Squish it in with a tablespoon. If you have some leftover, the booze means it will keep well so you can make more pies.
  11. Using a cutter – a star shape is tradition but use whatever you like – top each individual mince pie with the shape. Or, if you’re making the big pie, arrange the shapes on top but allow the fruit to show through. This is especially pretty with the glacé cherries showing through like little pieces of stained glass.
  12. Glaze the pasty using a little milk on a pastry brush and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  13. Leave to cool – although these are lovely warm. If you need to warm them up, I advise using the oven – 10 minutes on about 100 degree C is fine. It’s much nicer than reheating pastry in the microwave, which makes it a wee bit soggy.