Mince Pies {Countdown to Christmas}

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Christmas Day is in 5 days time…yes 5 DAYS TIME! I’m super excited now (hence the capitalisation) and feeling very festive.

This latest make is another recipe I’ve been making since I was 15 years old and I make lots every year. I love the smell of mince pies baking in the oven and can spend hours on end stood in the kitchen cutting out cases and star shaped lids ready to fill. The key to making pastry is keeping your hands, and the room, cool. I’ve rarely got warm hands, particularly in winter, but to make them really cold I put them in cold water to cool them right down.

If you want to have a go at making your own, here’s how:

  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g block butter
  • 50g lard/white vegetable fat
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 220g mincemeat

You’ll also need:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Teaspoon
  • Measuring scales
  • Rolling pin
  • Cling film
  • Sieve
  • Table knife
  • Circular cutter (the same size as one of the holes of your cake tin)
  • Star cookie cutter
  • 12 hole cake tin
  • Cooling rack

Method:

  1. Sieve your flour into a mixing bowl
  2. Add your butter and lard to the mixing bowl (I slice this into the bowl in small pieces)
  3. Using the tips of your thumb and fingers, rub the fat and flour together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs
  4. Mixing with a knife, add two tablespoons of cold water until it resembles a stiff, dry dough
  5. Knead lightly with your fingertips
  6. Turn your dough onto a lightly floured board
  7. Roll out your pastry until it is the thickness of a coin
  8. Cut out circles of pastry for the bases of your mince pies and press them lightly into the cake tin
  9. Spoon a generous teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case (you’ll want to completely fill it…don’t, it will bubble over and caramelize (and could burn onto the pastry and ruin the taste)
  10. Add a couple of droplets of cold water on top of your mincemeat (this will also stop the mincemeat from cooking too quickly and burning)
  11. Cut out star shapes from your remaining pastry and place on top of each mince pie
  12. Bake in the oven on 220 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 7 until lightly brown or until the fillings are cooked
  13. Take out of the oven and cool on a cooling rack

I love the star tops – you could sprinkle edible glitter or icing sugar on top of your mince pies once they’re cooled.

If you fancy a more enclosed mince pie, you could cut additional circle tops (the same size as your base) instead of stars.

Don’t like mincemeat? Why not substitute it for jam?

My family and friends love receiving their little bags of mince pies. I use these little bags from Lakeland to present them, and short lengths of ribbon to make the bow. Do you get annoyed with the little loops of ribbon you get in new clothes to keep them on the hanger? Well I cut mine out and save them for when I’m making bags of goodies.

Don’t forget to check back on Sunday where you’ll find a simple (and quick make) for using up your off cuts of festive fabric and making your house look really inviting.

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