Apparently mince pies have been around since the days of yore and yes they did used to contain real meat. Nowadays the pie filling is made up of spiced fruits with a little alcohol although some tricksters do like to try and make unwitting foreigners believe otherwise (namely the naughty Housemate with her Greek friend).
450g apples (I used braeburns) grated or chopped finely
125g candied peel
125g glace cherries
125g dates chopped small
225g soft brown sugar
175g grated suet
Grated rind and juice of one lemon
Chopped stem ginger to taste - I also use about 1 tbsp of the syrup from the ginger.
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
5 tbsp rum or any other alcohol you have in the house. I used a mixture of rum and port.
500g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg to make an egg wash (optional)
- Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir thoroughly.
- Cover the mixture and leave it to mature for at least 24 hours. I kept mine in the fridge for a couple of days before I got round to making the pies. If you are saving some of the mincemeat for gifts or for next year, transfer into sterilized jars and top with a wax circle/lid. Store in a cool, dark place.
- When your mincemeat has matured you can make the pastry.
- Rub the fats into the flour and salt by hand or by using a food processor.
- Add a couple of tablespoons of very cold water and bring the pastry together into a ball.
- Chill for an hour or so in the fridge.
- Once the pastry is ready to use, roll it out and cut discs for the base of your pies.
- Fill the pies with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat and top with another disk (I used hearts and stars for prettiness sake).
- Add a little slit for steam to escape and brush with the beaten egg. I added some cinnamon to the egg wash for extra spice.
- Put into a preheated oven (220 degrees) for 20 minutes or until the pies are browned.
- Sift with icing-sugar.
- Enjoy with mulled wine.*
* The best recipe I've found for mulled wine is from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.
Remember to vote for one of the Menu for Hope Prizes!