I bought this packet of vanilla sugar when I went to Germany a few months back and I’ve been dying to try it with something. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity as it would add an extra layer of flavour and hopefully not be too overpowered by the strong flavours from the mincemeat.
To make the pastry you need to mix together the ground almonds and flour.
Add the butter. As opposed to when you make cake and the ingredients are best at room temperature, it really is best if the butter and eggs are from the fridge as warm ingredients can make the pastry heavy and close textured. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the sugar. This is where I added 2 packets of my vanilla sugar as well but I don’t think it makes an overall difference to the outcome of the pastry.
I forgot to take a picture of adding the eggs, how dim of me! It’s fairly straight forward, it took about 5 minutes to fully combine it all and to make sure there were no streaks of egg yolk running through the dough. Roll into a ball and flatten slightly then cover with cling film and chill. Paul says in the recipe to chill it for at least 3 hours but I left it overnight.
Lightly flour a work surface then place the dough on it and roll out to the thickness of about a pound coin. Again I didn’t take a picture (not sure what I was doing when I made these!) You need to work as quickly as possible as there’s a chance you may overwork the dough and it becomes tough and you won’t be able to roll it out effectively. Cut out your circle shapes with a cutter, mine’s fluted but it doesn’t make a difference. Cut out your holly leaves at this point too, if using. I made mince pies last year and had some uncovered as I didn’t have enough dough but it doesn’t affect anything. You can make the holly leaves freehand or with a cutter if you have it. Push the circle of pastry into a hole of your greased tin, getting into the corners as much as possible. Repeat until all of your dough is used.
Spoon the mincemeat into the pastry, filling as much as possible as getting into the spaces too.
Place the holly leaf over the mincemeat. Pinch the edges of the leaf to connect it to the pastry case. Brush the tops of the pies with milk of egg, your choice.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until the pastry turns a golden brown colour. I baked mine for about 25 minutes which was a little too long but no detrimental effect was found in the final bake, just a little crunch.
Up close, they look ok right!?
And there you have it. Mince pies made with homemade mincemeat!
Here’s a list of ingredients and method for those that prefer 🙂 Paul’s recipe in the book said it made enough for 12 tarts/pies so I doubled the recipe for the pastry as I knew I had a lot of mincemeat to use up! I ended up with enough pastry for 21 pies and 21 holly leaves to decorate so take that as you will. Below is the double measures so halve if you don’t need as much.
- 330g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 50g ground almonds
- 240 unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 110g caster sugar (25g vanilla sugar if you have it)
- 2 eggs
- mincemeat (shop bought or homemade, whichever you have/prefer)
- milk, to glaze
- Stir together the flour and ground almonds then add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and stir through, until fully combined.
- Break in the eggs and work through the mixture until a soft dough is formed.
- Shape into a ball and flatten slightly then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 180º and grease and line a 12 hole mini cake tin.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of around a pound coin. Cut out a circle with a cutter that fits your tin. Roll out the leftover pastry and cut out some holly leaf shapes. I had a holly shaped cutter but you could do this freehand.
- Push into the tin and flatten firmly into the hole, pressing with your fingertips to spread if needed.
- Spoon the mincemeat into the pastry, filling as much as possible.
- Place the holly leaf over the top of the mincemeat and push the ends until they attach to the outer case of the pie. Brush the tops of the pies with milk to glaze and give a bit of colour. You can use a beaten egg too if you’d prefer.
- Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the pastry turns a golden brown colour.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving although they are delicious warm too.
- Dust with icing sugar if preferred to serve.
These mince pies were lovely! I think I slightly over baked them as I was trying to brown the holly leaf on top, forgetting about the rest of them. This made the base of the pastry ever so slightly crunchy but I think that added to the appeal of them. The mincemeat was wonderful, just the right amount of alcohol added.