For quite a while now I've been putting off attempting any sort of pie or pastry. In fact, as a general rule I tend to say I don't like pies at all, I've been offered too many burnt slices, too many soggy bottoms and don't get me started on the miniature fruit pies they sell in supermarkets. But nothing makes it feel like Christmas like a homemade mince pie and these miniatures are perfect for Christmas parties, children or just a sweet snack.
I had started my mince pie quest with this recipe from Paul Hollywood as it seemed very simple and didn't require a lot of fussy ingredients. Whilst I was pretty pleased with them (mostly just because I'd completed my first go with pastry and there wasn't a soggy bottom in sight) the general feedback I got was they were much too rich for their size. The recipe suggested baking in muffin tray which made for some pretty sizeable pies.
So this is my shrunken down version, I've used the same pastry recipe because I quite liked it (and wasn't brave enough to try anything new yet!) but made a few tiny tweaks including, of course, making them tiny!
375g plain flour
125g caster sugar
1 medium egg
2 jars of mincemeat (this should be approx 800-850g)
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Start by rubbing together the flour, butter, sugar and egg along with a splash of cold water to make the pastry. I'm sure you could do this in a mixer if you have one but the original recipe does say not to over work the dough so I'd probably still do it by hand. Wrap it in cling film and leave in the fridge while you make the filling.
Finely chop the apple and add to the mincemeat. Then stir in the lemon zest, juice and cinnamon. I chose these because they were my favourites of the flavours but you could add extra of any spice or fruit or just use the mincemeat as is. Ideally, I'd have made these a bit boozier but I haven't done my christmas alcohol shop yet.
Roll out your pastry (it suggests to about 3mm), cut with a round pastry cutter and press into a mini-muffin tray (I am currently in love with the silicone trays from John Lewis but you can get other mini-muffin trays from most retailers). Fill each with a teaspoon of the mincemeat mixture and then use another circle of pastry or a shape of your choosing for a lid.
Bake for about fifteen minutes and then enjoy with a Christmassy cocktail of your choosing.
This is likely to be my last blog until the New Year but if I believed in resolutions I'd definitely be making one to blog more often so expect more regular posts from 2014. Also sorry for the terrible photos this time, my regular photographer was busy. Happy Holidays.