Monday, 13 December 2010

Mince pies

Ahh the humble1 mince pie.

I feel sorry for all those cultures that don't get this Christmas delicacy.
First mincemeat, these days most shop bought mince meat contains no meat, even the suet (traditionally beef) is vegetarian, it is worth checking the jar though. I've not been organized enough to make my own, so I fell back on my gran's time honoured method. Buy some in a jar at the earliest opportunity, take out a spoonful (If there is just one jar I eat that spoonful) replace the missing mince meat with brandy, give the jar a good shake & stick it in the cupboard for at least a week, preferably longer.

I treated myself to a new bun tray, since the only one I had was more of a muffin tin & a bit too deep for mince pies. I splashed out on a seriously heavyweight one, which means individual Yorkshire puddings are going to appear in the near future.

Step one is make some pastry, I used my all purpose shortcrust (1 part butter, 1 part lard, 8 parts flour) and added some sugar to sweeten it (not necessary, but it can help). and put it in the fridge to chill. If you are making pastry, always chill it in the fridge before using it.

Then get rolling & cutting. Fill each pie case with a spoonful of mincemeat (Add a drop of brandy to each pie at this point if you like (I do)) put the lid on (or if you are feeling really fancy, cut out a Christmassy shape and put that on the mincemeat) and pop them into an oven. Most recipes say gas 6 /200c for 20 minutes, in my oven this was about 5 minutes too long, so keep an eye on them and when the pastry is golden take them out. Turn them out on to a rack or board & let them cool. Mincemeat like jam gets hot & sticky, a bad combination, so let that cool enough to be safe. Serve warm or cold, with cream, ice-cream or brandy butter (or a slice of strong cheese) and enjoy.

This is my little joke, mince pies where in times past known as humble or 'umble pies and used the humbles of an animal (usually deer) as the meat base (that's offal in modern terms). 


  1. I love mince pies- very good. Love the sweeter caramelised bits that ooze out the side :)

  2. That's one of the great joys of home made mince pies, you can overstuff them :)