Mince pies

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I really don’t feel like typing out long paragraphs about my life at the moment, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet just like these little mince pies. I am finally on a real holiday you guys. You must be thinking, but Ben why are you still working? That’s a good question actually! Reason being, my auntie ordered 40 homemade mince pies from me and I have to make them for her before she arrives this evening. Obviously I am more than happy to make them for her, and would make 100 if I were asked to. It is quite the job to take on though, especially because I’m on holiday. Anyways, I am happy that I got help from the wonderful Olivia van Hoogstraten (she told me to write that) who is my cousin’s cousin, but basically is just another one my cousins. As I’m sure you will notice, we had to shoot this post on the floor of my auntie’s beautiful holiday home. Reason being, the natural light in the kitchen isn’t great and so my next best option was the floor. Yes it may seem a little gross, but we cleaned it well and nothing came into contact with the ground at any time. I hope you enjoy this post!

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Mince pies have never really been my cup of tea. I find them to be over sweet and slightly stodgy. I knew that I had to make a mince pie post for Christmas so I turned my thinking cap on and came up with a solution. The filling is obviously store bought mincemeat, with the addition lemon zest and juice to cut through the sweetness of the mince pie. For further tanginess, I served the pies with Greek yogurt and cherries, which completely balance out and eliminate the sickly sweetness of the pies. The pastry is light and crispy.

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Mince pies

Makes 12 little pies

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 150g mince meat
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Pastry:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 125g chilled chopped butter
  • 50g icing sugar, plus extra to dust on top
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbs milk (as much as it takes to form a dough), plus extra to brush on top
  • A little castor sugar to sprinkle on top

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Method:

Pastry:

Grease a mince pie baking tray. If you don’t have one, you could use a muffin tray.

For the pastry, mix the flour and butter in a bowl. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and egg yolk. Mix untill all ingredients are well incorporated. Now add the milk a tablespoon at a time until you form pastry dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the refridgerator for 30 minutes to an hour.

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Filling:

Prepare your filling. Mix the the filling ingredients in a bowl and leave to one side.

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Flour a clean working surface. Roll out the pastry dough and cut out 12 circles using a glass or cookie cutter. Cut them a size that is bigger than your pie moulds. Place 1 circle in each pie mould and press to the shape of the mould. Fill with a heaped teaspoon of the filling. Roll out another sheet of pastry. Cut long strips out. Arrange the long strips over the pies in a criss cross formation. Cut off any excess pastry.

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Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with a little castor sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes untill golden brown. Once cooled, lightly dust with a little icing sugar.

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Copper vase from Carrol Boyes.

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