…I made Mince Pies. To use up the mince meat I made last week.
Mince pies are one of those things that are only eaten for the month of December. They start to make their way into the shops around mid November with the rest of the Christmas decorations, food, goodies but you daren’t eat them until at least the 8th December. However, every time I eat a mince-pie, I wonder why they aren’t eaten all year-round. I would eat them every day (if I thought that I wouldn’t gain an ounce of weight, but that isn’t going to happen!)
They are also super handy to have in the house should someone pop over to say hi. Boil the kettle and make a pot of tea or coffee, or even have them with a hot whiskey, if the weather permits! Either eat them alone and cold, or slightly heated through, with some cream or ice cream. yummy yummy!
The best pastry I have found (and I have tried a lot of them) is courtesy of the Odlums Christmas Baking booklet that I got about two years ago. The pastry can be made in advance and will keep in the fridge for about 3 days. Why not make up a second batch and keep in the fridge for unexpected guests. You can throw together a batch of pies in about 20 minutes!
For the Pastry, you will need:
225g Plain flour, 125g caster sugar, 100g ground almonds, 125g margarine (room temp), one egg beaten and a little water if necessary.
Preheat your oven to 200C and lightly grease your mince-pie tin. Put the flour, sugar and almonds into a mixing bowl and stir. Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add a little egg ( not all of it) and bring the dough together with a fork. Add a little more egg as needed and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until it all comes together. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge until needed.
Roll out your pastry on a floured board and cut circles to fit your tin. Put a teaspoon (heaped ish) into each case and place a “lid” on the pies. I think that stars are quite nice to place on top, plus, all the mincemeat seems to seep out the side of the pies when I try to put a full lid on!
Bake the pies for about 15 minutes until golden. Take out of the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before removing from the tin. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy! You will get about 2 dozen pies from the pastry.
They also make a lovely gift if you are visiting friends. A nice little box, and some pretty fabric or ribbons makes them all the prettier.
On another note, alluded to in my “What I want for Christmas” list, I got a very short-lived, but lovely surprise when I came home from work on Wednesday. This little dote scurried in the door after me, and stayed to play for a few hours! It turns out that she had escaped from one of the neighbours houses and I was afraid she might run under a car, so I kept her in the house. But needless to say, I thought that she was my present.
So Close. Soooo close!