I had my first go at making mince pies this Christmas. The local history group who meet where I work every other week were having a Christmas party, to which I was invited, so I wanted to make some mince pies to take along. So I got my Mum, who has been making mince pies for years, to show me how to make them. Sadly because of the weather the party was cancelled so the staff in the library got the pies instead! I had lots of people telling me how good they were though and I never realised how simple they were to make!
Mince Pies (from Cordon Bleu Cookery Course)
(Makes about 18)
For rich shortcrust pastry
8 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
5 oz butter
1 oz shortening, or lard
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbsp cold water
For the filling
about 1 1/2lb mincemeat
caster sugar for dusting
Make the pastry
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a mixing bowl. Drop in the butter and cut into the flour until the small pieces are well coated. Then rub them in with the fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. mix the egg yolk with the water and tip into the fat and flour and mix quickly with a palette knife to firm dough.
Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth. Chill in a refrigerator wrapped in clingfilm for 30 mins before using.
Make the mince pies
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cut the pastry into two lumps. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the pastry fairly thinly and stamp into rounds for the lids with a cutter. Put the rounds to one side. Add trimmings to the second half and roll out a little thinner than the first half. Stamp in rounds a little larger than the first.
Put the larger pastry rounds into patty tins, with a good spoonful of mincemeat to fill well. Place the smaller rounds on top, using a pastry brush and water to wet slightly and pinch the edges together. Brush lightly with cold water and dust with sugar.
Cook for 15-20 mins until nicely brown. Cool slightly before taking from the tins.