Now, there are two ways of doing this. Following this recipe, or buy some sweet crust pastry and some made mincemeat (which you improve by adding some of these ingredients) and save yourself some time. I suppose you pays your money you takes your choice, but part of the fun of christmas is getting in the kitchen with the carols on the radio and shutting the world out. You can also have a glass or two of wine while you do it and just tell people you are being festive, or at least getting merry.
Anyway, these are deep, rich with a nut crumble topping. You can make them in advance and store in an airtight container for a week, or freeze the pies and reheat when they are needed.
I have put this on now so that you can make the if you want. When mine are done for this year, a picture will follow.
For the Pastry [or use sweet shop bought]
- 250gm plain flour
- 125gm icing sugar
- pinch sea salt
- 1 vanilla pod
- 125g cold unsalted butter (diced)
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the Mincemeat [add some of this to the shop bought if you have some]
- 1 apple peeled and finely grated
- 100gms salted butter melted and cooled
- 250gms raisins
- 110gms dried apricots
- 175gms soft brown sugar
- zest and juice of a small orange
- zest and juice of a unwaxed lemon
- 50gms of toasted almonds
- half teaspoon of all spice
- quarter teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons of brandy
- 2 tablespoons of dark rum
For the Crumble
- 75g plain flour
- half teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 50g of unsalted butter, diced
- 50g of demerara sugar
- 3 tablespoons of skinned and roasted hazelnuts
- Prepare the mincemeat: Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover with some clingfilm and leave somewhere cool for nearly three hours (or even better over night) then cover in clingfilm. The fruit will soak all the juices and the flavours will improve. The alternative is add the extras you choose to the shop bought version and improve it no end. If you have shop pastry (who doesn’t) then straight to point 5.
- Prepare the pastry: sieve the flour, salt and icing sugar then tip the lot into the food processor. Split the vanilla pod scrape the seeds into the mix; add the diced butter and blend the lot for a few seconds until it resembles the usual suspect – fine breadcrumbs. Add the beaten eggs then pulse until it become a dough.
- Scrape the lot out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to make it smooth. This should only be a few seconds. Please, do yourself a favour and don’t over knead it; it will then be shorter and lighter in the bake.
- Wrap the lot in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- For the Topping: sift the flour and cinnamon into a large bowl, add the butter and rub the lot until it becomes coarse and crumbly. Mix in the sugar and hazelnuts.
- Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, make it the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out 12 rounds, reusing the trimmings to make more. Press them into the mince-pie tins
- Place a tablespoon of the mincemeat into the shell and sprinkle with the crumble topping. Put them back in the fridge for 20 minutes and preheat your oven to 190c/Gas 5
- Bake them for 15-20 minutes until they are a golden brown. Let them rest for 2-3 minutes before gently moving them to a wire rack to cool.