I have rather ambitious ideas for this years holiday baking, but these mince pies definitely top the list, despite being rather a rather unpretentious holiday staple. For me, they are the quintessential christmas treat. The first mince pie of the year, eaten around mid-November, heralds the beginning of the festive season - in all its sparkly gloriousness - unlike anything else.
Last years attempt at home-made mince pies wasn't too successful - the pastry was really tough and the mincemeat bubbled over the edge, glueing the pies to the tin. This year, it was quite a different story. The pastry was crumbly and buttery, and the home-made mincemeat, as well as spreading mouth-watering aromas through the whole house, was simply delicious. They were so good that we are planning to make another batch to give to our neighbours!
For the pastry:
150g cold unsalted butter, diced
225g plain flour
65g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1-2tbsp double cream
For the mincemeat
I used this recipe here. For 12 mince pies, I only used half the quantity.
To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine crumbs, then stir in the sugar. In a small bowl mx the egg yolk and cream and add to the flour mixture. Bring it all together with your hands, and once it has formed a dough, wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.
Brush a 12-hole muffin tin with melted butter. (This may be an unnecessary step, but I preferred to err on the side of caution) Cut 12 3cm x 20xm stripes of greaseproof paper and place them across on bottom of the cups in the muffin tin, making sure that an even amount of paper sticks out of the top of each cup. This makes the task of removing the pies from the tin a lot easier.
Roll the pastry out on a well floured surface and then cut out 12 circles slightly larger than the holes on a muffin tin. Press each round of pastry into a cup, using extra dough to patch up any tears. Then put the whole tin in the fridge and leave to chill to another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. Re-roll the remaining scraps of pastry and cut out 12 small stars. Once the pastry has chilled, spoon the mincemeat into each pie, filling them up almost to the top. Place a star on the top, then put in the oven and bake for about 20 minuets. After a few minutes, remove each pie from the tin and into a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!