Mince pies……this year don’t be fooled into buying shop bought mince pies, they are just not the same as home baked ones. Get your baking tins out and give this recipe a go. This particular mince pie recipe has been passed down to me from Mrs Monkfish Senior, current Chairwoman of the West Midlands Women’s Institute no less! The WI ladies of this world are extremely keen bakers and nothing but the best gets baked (and eaten) by them – think Mary Berry standards and you’re on the right lines.
Although this recipe requires a little effort it will gain you brownie points from friends and family because the results are simply delicious. A tried and tested recipe which oozes yumminess, involves a very ‘short’ melt in your mouth orange pastry and includes a dollop of cream cheese under the pie lid. Trust me, this recipe will change your Christmas!
And a last word of advice, don’t substitute any of the ingredients for a ‘low fat’ alternative, the results will not be the same. It’s Christmas, full indulgence is required. Best served warm with a dollop of brandy butter and a side of sherry!
And now the recipe…..
Makes about 24-30 pies
For the pastry
500g strong plain white flour
175g icing or caster sugar
375g butter the finely grated rind and juice of 1 large orange
For the pie filling
250g cream cheese or mascarpone – I use full fat cream cheese
25g golden caster sugar
500-625g good quality mincemeat - a luxury version would be preferable
the grated rind and juice of 2 un-waxed lemons
milk to glaze
Begin with the orange pastry. Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and stir these into the flour. Rub lightly with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the orange rind. Using a knife, stir in the orange juice until the dough just begins to stick together. Gather up the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Put the cream cheese and caster sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth. Knead the pastry lightly and roll out about two thirds of it fairly thickly (approx 3mm). Using a 7.5cm diameter pastry cutter cut out 24 rounds (or more). Re-roll the pastry as necessary. It’s going to be crumbly but don’t worry, that’s why it will taste so good!
Butter two sheets of 12 hole patty tins and line them with the pastry rounds. Spoon the mincemeat into a bowl and stir in the lemon rind and juice – feel free to add a splash of brandy to the mix at this point (IT’S CHRIIIIIISTMAAAAAS). Half fill the lined patty tins with the mincemeat, then put a teaspoonful of the cream cheese mixture on top and spread level. Roll out the remaining pastry and using a star-shaped pastry cutter cut out 24 stars. Place the stars on top of each mince pie.
Brush the tops of the pies with a little milk and bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes until light golden-brown. Let the pies cool down before easing them from the tins gently with a round-bladed knife. Serve warm (they can be reheated), or at room temperature. Before serving, sprinkle with caster or icing sugar.
GUARANTEE – these will be the best mince pies you have EVER tasted. Everybody will love you and your pies and the orders will come flooding in for next year.
PLEASE don’t even think about saying you’re on a diet when you’re offered one of these festive delights, just go for it, get a spoon in that brandy butter and don’t look back! And if you can’t manage 12 at once then put them in the freezer for another day…..
FINALLY, DON’T FORGET you can purchase all the ingredients at EARTHY FOODS - organic flour, sugar, luxury mincemeat, you need it? They’ve got it…