Mince pies are the crumbly Christmas party treat we can’t get enough of. Whether they’re gourmet and gilded with gold or homemade with alcohol-soaked currants, we’ll eat them all (sorry, Santa). If you’re whipping up your own festive batch, Great British Bake Off finalist Flora Shedden has some top tips on how to make the perfect mince pies, with a delicious recipe from AO.com.
Read, steady, BAKE!
100g plain white flour
100g plain wholemeal flour
A pinch of salt
50g unsalted butter
50g lard or vegetable shortening
Cold water (up to 2 tbsp)
Mincemeat – 1 heaped teaspoon per pie.
1 beaten egg, to glaze
A shallow, 12 bun baking tin, greased
One 7.5cm and one 6cm fluted, round pastry cutter
1. Sift the flours and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into little cubes and drop them into the bowl of flour. Rub the fats into the flour using your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water gradually, using a knife or metal spatula to bring the mixture together until it forms a dough and comes cleanly away from the bowl. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge to chill for 20 – 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven (200/ Gas Mark 6/ Fan Oven 180).
3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it’s thin. Cut out 12 bases with the large, round cutter. Using the smaller round cutter, cut 12 lids. If you want a decorative lid, use a shaped cutter to make stars, Christmas trees or any other shape you like.
4. Gently press the bases into the greased tin, and fill with a generous teaspoon of mincemeat. Dampen the edges of the pastry bases, and press the lids into place.
Brush the pies all over with beaten egg, to glaze, then slide the tray into the pre-heated oven and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.
Flora’s Top Tips
1. I always use a thin pastry for my mince pies.
2. I have absolutely no issues with using shop bought mince meat. I get it, and just add in extra ingredients to make it my own.
3. I always add whiskey to my mince pies, especially because my Dad’s a big whiskey lover. I use a couple of shots (ok, quite a bit more than that…)
4. You can add whatever dried fruit you like, but I go for cherries and orange zest. People think it’s homemade instantly.
5. I like to decorate my mince pies with stars on top, but I know people that like a crumble or an almond frangipane instead.
6. I think people are so worried that it has to be the perfect traditional Christmas pastry, but just bake whatever you fancy!