Homemade Mincemeat Pies

 

It’s safe to say that I won’t be having any more store bought mince pies again, unless of course, I have to. And that’s how this recipe began … I could not find that mince pie I could die for. They were either too dry or too acid or too alcoholic. Making your own mincemeat is well worth the time and effort and once you have made a batch, you won’t have to make another for a few years providing you make enough and store the jars properly. Here is my recipe for the mincemeat. I have tried several shortcrust pastry methods. They resulted in the crust being either too savory, too difficult to handle or too crumbly. I tweaked around with proportions and ended up with this very fool-proof method which in my family, we all agree, is the best. Half the secret is not to be afraid of making pastry and keep it chilled. I work with one golf ball sized piece at a time, keeping the rest in the fridge. Mind you, I do live in Florida and even though we have AC I find that foods reach room temperature rather quickly. The holiday season is but once a year and it’s a short one at that so go ahead, make some homemade mince pies that will keep you looking forward to the next holiday season!

HOMEMADE MINCEMEAT PIES

  • Difficulty: time consuming and somewhat tricky
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Ingredients:

For the Pastry
4 1/2 oz of cold butter, cubed
2 oz of cold lard
1 tbs caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 egg with a tbsp of water, beaten (for egg wash)
12 oz of plain flour, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp of very cold water
Icing sugar / confectioners sugar for dusting
Optional: Serve with brandy butter or vanilla custard
You will also need a mince pie tray with 12 holes of 2 1/2 inches high by 3 inches across and two pastry cutters half an inch larger than the width of your pie hole (for the base) and one the exact with of the your pie hole (for the top)
1 16 oz jar of homemade or good quality mincemeatrecipe here

Instructions:

Weigh the fats and ensure they are cold
Sift your flour into a mixing bowl, together with the salt and sugar
Add fats and flour mixture to the bowl of a food processor with a sharp blade
Process on pulse mode until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
Add the egg yolk and pulse-blend
Add the water one tablespoon at a time
You want the dough to come together when you squeeze it between your fingers but it should not stick to the bowl
If you don’t have a processor, rub the fat, in small pieces, into the sifted flour, sugar and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the water to make a dough
Now place in a bowl and cover with clingfilm
Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes – this will make the dough easier to handle
Preheat your oven to 375°F
Grease the holes of your pie tin
Take the dough out and take out a golf ball sized piece – keep the rest in the refrigerator
Roll your dough as thin as possible to make it still manageable and using your larger pastry cutter, cut out your round but don’t twist it – Peel the base and place carefully into the first hole of your pie tin
Continue to roll out the dough until you have all 12 holes filled
Fill each pastry base with 1 heaped tsp of mincemeat
Now start to roll out the tops of the pies with the smaller cutter the same way you did the bases
Dampen the under side edges with egg wash and place on top of the mincemeat
Seal the edges as best you can, with the tip of a knife if you have to, and press down
Egg wash the tops of the pies (one egg beaten with 1 tsp of water)
With the tip of a sharp knife, slit 3 holes on the top of each pie (to vent)
Bake on the upper middle shelf of your oven – not the top shelf – for 20 minutes
Take the tray out of the oven and let the pies cool completely before you try to take them out
When they are completely cold, store them in airtight containers
Serve slightly warm with custard or brandy butter or eat cold but always with a sprinkling of icing / confectioners sugar

© 2014-2015 Caroline’s Family Kitchen and CarolinesFamilyKitchen.com

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