Home-made Easy Mince Pies With a tasty start to the festive season with some delicious mince pies
for mincemeat (makes 6lb):
1lb (450g) Bramley Apples cored
and chopped small (no need to peel)
8oz (225g) Shredded suet
12oz (350g) Raisins
8oz (225g) Currants
8oz (225g) Whole mixed candied
peel, finely chopped
12oz (250g) Soft Dark Brown Sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
2oz (50g) Whole almonds cut into slivers
4 tsp mixed ground spice
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
6 tbsp Brandy
You will need six 1lb preserving jars and waxed disks. Combine all the ingredients, except for the brandy, in a large mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave in a cool place overnight or for 12 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 110C/225F/Gas ¼.
Cover the bowl loosely with foil and cook in the oven for three hours. Don’t worry about the appearance of the mincemeat (this will seem swimming in fat; this is how it should look).
As the mincemeat cools, stir from time to time; the fat will coagulate and instead of it being in tiny shreds, it will encase all the other ingredients. When the mincemeat has cooled, stir well, adding the brandy.
Pack into sterilised jars, (to sterilise the jars wash in warm soapy water, rinse well, dry thoroughly, place on a baking tray and pop into a medium oven 180C/350F/Gas 4 for five minutes). Cover with the wax disks and seal.
The mincemeat will keep for up to three years in a cool dark cupboard.
for Mince Pies (makes 24):
1¼ lb (560g) Mincemeat
12oz (350g) Plain flour
3oz (75g) Lard
3oz (75g) Butter
Pinch of Salt
Dash of milk and icing sugar
(for the top)
You will need one or two trays of 2½ in (6cm) patty tins, one fluted 3in (7.5cm) cutter and one 2 ½ in (6cm) cutter.
Pre–heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a mixing bowl, rub in the fats until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just enough cold water to mix a dough that leaves the bowl clean.
Leave the pastry to rest in a polythene bag in the refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll out half of the pastry as thinly as possible and cut into two dozen 3in (7.5cm) rounds, gather up the scraps and re-roll. Then do the same with the other half of the pastry, this time using a 2½in (6cm) cutter.
Grease the patty tins lightly and line with the larger pastry rounds. Fill these with the mincemeat up to the level of the edges of the pastry. Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds of pastry and press them lightly into position to form lids, sealing the edges. Brush each one with the milk, and make three snips in the tops with a pair of scissors.
Bake near the top of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on a wire tray and sprinkle with the icing sugar. When cool, store in an airtight container.