I love mince pies at Christmas and there’s just nothing more delicious than freshly homemade ones. It’s surprisingly easy to make mincemeat and some simple short-crust pastry and there’s still time to make lots! There are lots of recipes around and I seem to have evolved my own version as I like to keep things simple. (Health warning – freshly baked mince pies are very moreish and you may end up eating more than you should)
1 large cooking apple, grated
Juice and zest 1 lemon
Juice and zest 1 orange
1 small bottle pear cider
200g dark brown muscovado sugar
100g dried cranberries
50g vegetable suet
Place all the ingredients except the rum in a large pan and bring to the boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Then allow to simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely and then stir in the rum. Pack into jars – this mixture will make around 2lb
Feeling Christmassy? Here’s how to make the mince pies…
You will need a 12 hole cupcake or muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 180c
To make 12 mince pies I use 225g plain flour and 140g very cold butter – mix together lightly until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1 tablespoon of caster sugar and enough very cold water to mix together to bind it– I prefer it a little wetter than too dry. ( If you accidentally make it too wet just add a little flour back into it) Wrap in cling-film and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Then roll out the pastry and cut with round cutters – you’ll need a round larger than the size of your tin for the base and a smaller one for the lid. I cut snowflake shapes for the top.
Fill the bases with mincemeat (not too full or it will explode through the lid!) Place the lid on top and prick with a fork, brush with milk and bake for about 10 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
Sprinkle with a little caster sugar or icing sugar to serve.
To make special fruity mince pies just add fresh chopped fruit to the mincemeat and mix well before making the pies and baking. I used chopped apricots, fresh cranberries, zest of a lemon and added some demerara sugar to sweeten the fruit a little.