Christmas Part 6: Mum’s Mince Pies

This is the first of the recipes that I’m sharing with you that have come from my Mum.  She’s a great cook, and I’ve always been a massive fan of her mince pies.  The pastry melts in your mouth, and I’ve never found mince pies quite the same as hers.. So with no more ado, here you have it, my Mum’s wonderful mince pie recipe:

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Shortcrust pastry mince pies

Ingredients:

8 oz plain flour

2 oz margerine (plus a bit extra to make lighter pastry)

2 oz white Flora

good pinch of salt

approximately 2 tblsp. cold water

mincemeat

Recipe:

1. Sieve flour and salt. Rub in fats until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Gradually add cold water to make dough into a rolling consistency, using first a knife and then fingertips to feel the pastry.

3. Roll pastry on a floured surface to required thickness, lifting and turning to keep it light.

4. Cut equal amounts of bases and lids.

5. Put one large teaspoon of mincemeat in each then dampen lids and put on top. Press edges together gently to seal.

6. Make a hole in the lid with the tip of a sharp knife or a skewer (I didn’t need to, as the star cutter meant that steam would escape this way).

7. Cook in a hot oven, 425 – 450° F, 200 – 220°C, Gas mark , for about 20 minutes until turning colour.

8. Cool slightly to let pastry settle then move to a wire rack to cool. (At this point it may be possible to carefully scrape away any mixture that has boiled out over the lid!). Dust with icing or castor sugar.

Notes before you start

To make good pastry keep everything as cold as possible – keep fat in fridge until ready to use, and run cold water over your hands to keep them cold if necessary (then dry!). Add the water gradually – too little and the mix will break as you try to roll it out, too wet and it will stick – to everything! (and the pastry will be tough).

When rolling the pastry flour the board and the rolling pin. Try not to use too much flour or this will change the ratio of ingredients.

Roll in one direction only (not backwards and forwards – pastry needs the gentle touch). I tend to roll the pin a couple of times then lift, turn – and gently knock the pastry back slightly on each turn.

If you stretch the pastry rather than press it out, it will shrink on cooking and the filling will be more likely to leak out.

The amount of filling you use will depend on the size of the pies/tin. Don’t overfill or the mincemeat will just bubble out of the hole when it is cooking! Enjoy :O)

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