Mince pies and pudding are the quintessential Christmas treat. Both share many of the same ingredients so making your own will save you money.
Last year I made mince pies the easy way. I bought a jar of mince meat and filled some ready-made vole-au-vent cases and bunged them in the oven. They were tasty, light and worked out much cheaper than the store-bought ones.
But I’ve discovered that home-made is best. For the mince pie filling you can swap the traditional suet for butter and the traditional raisins for dried cranberries if you wish. This recipe makes enough for 24 pies.
Later this week, I’ll have some more Christmas recipes to get you in festive spirit.
For the filling:
- 100g suet
- 200g dark brown sugar
- 250ml orange juice
- 2tsp ground mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ginger
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 250g Bramley apples
- 200g sultanas
- 200g currants
- 100g raisins
- 200g mixed candied peel, finelychopped
- 1tbsp grated orange zest
- 150ml brandy, cognac, rum or whiskey
- Combine the suet, sugar, orange juice and all the spices in a saucepan, and leave on a gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is smooth.
- Peel, quarter, core and finely chop the apples. Add the chopped apples to the pan, along with the sultanas, currants, raisins, candied peel and orange zest, stirring well.Bring to the boil, and simmer gently for ten minutes or until the apples have softened, then set aside.
- Add the brandy, and allow to cool. When cold, spoon into clean, dry jars, and seal tightly. Store in a cool place until required.
For the pastry:
- 225g cold butter, diced
- 350g plain flour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Icing sugar, to dust
- Rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly.
- The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C.
- Line a baking tin by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each round compartment of the tray. If you only have one tray, make the pies in batches.
- Then spoon the mincemeat into the pies.
- Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal.
- Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar.