There are numerous ways of making mince pies - in patty tins, on baking sheets and using shortbread, shortcrust or even puff pastry. My favourite method and, I think, the most delicious, is using patty tins and the pastry recipe below - they're crumbly, buttery and a perfect treat for teatime on Boxing Day.
- 350g/1lb luxury mince meat, Waitrose best
- 4 tbspn Brandy
- zest of 1 large orange and 1 lemon
- 2 tspn cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- 350g soft flour
- 175g unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- a couple of pinches of grated nutmeg
- 3 tspns castor sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ egg shell of cold water, approx
- To Glaze
- brown sugar, to sprinkle
- Place the cold butter, flour, salt and sugar together in a food processor. Mix until you have a fine breadcrumb texture, do not over work
- Add the egg and water and mix well, using the pulse button. Do not overwork or the pastry will shrink when cooked.
- Turn out of the processor and knead very gently to bring together.
- Flatten slightly (makes it easier to roll when chilled) wrap in cling film, then chill for about 20 minutes before rolling.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6 and grease patty tins.
- Mix the mincemeat with the zests, cinnamon and brandy.
- Roll out half the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm and use a cutter to cut out pastry discs which will line the bases of the patty tins. Carefully line the moulds with the pastry then spoon in enough mincemeat to fill no more than three-quarters full.
- Brush a little beaten egg around the inside rim of the pastry. Cut out smaller circles from the remaining pastry to make lids for the pies, place on top of the mincemeat and pinch around the edges to seal. Lightly brush milk across the lids to glaze and sprinkle over a little brown sugar, then use a sharp knife to make a small hole in the centre.
- Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. Allow mince pies to cool before removing from the tins.
- To enjoy at their best, follow my lead and serve with clotted cream and a glass of brandy!