15 days to Christmas so time to bring out the rolling pin to start making your Christmas pastry. This recipe is an old fashioned, tried and tested family recipe, which has been handed down through the generations.
Traditional mince pies were originally made with minced game, rabbit or lamb, and the adding of fruit, spices and alcohol helped to preserve it. They were initially made in rectangular dishes and as the top of the pie would often cave in, it was said to look like a crib, and hence it was given the name “crib cakes”, in keeping the with Christians nativity crib. Today only the fruit mince is used.
Three spices were added – cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg – as symbols of the three gifts given to the Christ child by the three wise men.
Mince pies are made with Shortcrust Pastry, and this recipe is delicately flaky and best eaten on the day of baking, however both the pastry and the cooked mince pies can be stored in the fridge for a few days, and are great frozen until needed, and then reheated. If you want to freeze them once cooked, remember to freeze “blind” (in a single layer on a tray) and once frozen place them in airtight containers or freezer bags. They are then easy to take out one at a time as needed. This recipe is good for any kind of sweet pie, and is delicious with fruit mince, nuts and apples.
It is tradition to make a wish whilst eating your first mince pie of the festive season.
Christmas Mince Pies
Remember “Pastry is cool in the making and hot in the baking” This quantity makes 18 mince pies. This is a delicate shortcrust pastry .
- 500g/500ml cake flour (2cups)
- 250g butter
- 3ml salt
- 1 egg yolk (use the white for brushing )
- 50ml iced water
- 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
- Bottle of fruit mince
- Rub the flour , butter and salt together, or using a Magimix (I only make it this way) with the metal blade.
- Pulse the flour and salt together then add cold butter chopped into pieces, and pulse until combined to breadcrumb consistency.
- With a fork beat the egg yolk, water and vinegar together and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse in the Magimix again until it is a solid pastry. It takes only a few seconds to mix.
- This is a very wet mixture. Roll it into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 30minutes.
- Cut the mixture into half and roll out on a floured board.
- Cut with cookie cutters to shape of your baking tray.
- Fill with fruit mince
- With a pastry brush , wet the edges of the pies with water, so the top piece of pastry will stay attached to the bottom one.
- Cut toppings from pastry – either a circle , stars or strips if you like to see the fruit mince through
- Quickly whisk the white of the egg with a fork and brush onto the top of the pastry case to brown it.
- Cook at 220ºC for 10-15 minutes