I first published this recipe in 2011. It was just after my first blogging anniversary and I was very excited to have my first Christmas as a food blogger. I made these mince pies and thought I was brilliant for being able to do it.
Since then, I’ve made these every year. They’re the best mince pies I’ve ever tasted, let alone the best mince pies I’ve ever made. Everyone – everyone – loves them. They rave over the filling and how it’s so much better than other fillings. They ask me how I managed to get the pastry so buttery and crumbly. They pass the recipe on to friends and family so they can make them too.
They are just lovely. I dare you to give them a go. And now I have a super easy to follow video tutorial as well as this recipe, so you have no excuse not to try it.
- 500-600g mincemeat
- 2 satsumas
- 1 apple
- 1 lemon
- 375g plain flour
- 260g softened unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
Okay. Start by making the pastry. Cube the butter and put it in a large bowl with the sieved flour. Then use your fingertips to rub the mixture together until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Few tips for this. My GCSE catering teacher told me that ideally the flour marks shouldn’t come above your first knuckle, and that cold hands are best. If you don’t have naturally cold hands, run them under a cold tap and dry them well before attacking the flour and butter. Occasionally, shake the bowl; it will make the big lumps come to the top so you can rub them into crumbs again.
Tip the sugar into the bowl and crack in one of the eggs. Then mix together. I took a leaf out of Paul Hollywood’s book and just used my hand to do this — it came together really nicely.
Lightly flour your work surface and tip the pastry out onto it. Knead the pastry gently until it comes together, but don’t over mix. I’d say, stop as soon as the pastry is smooth.
Then wrap the pastry in cling-film and chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
Whilst it’s chilling, make the filling. Separate the satsumas into segments and dice the apple. Put the mincemeat in a bowl and add the satsuma segments and the apple chunks, before grating in the zest of the lemon.
When your pastry is chilled, pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C in a fan oven. Get a muffin tin and spray it with Fry Light. Then roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it’s about 3mm thick. Take a round cutter of about 10cm in diameter and cut out enough bases to fill your muffin tin. If you run out of space, gather up the pastry scraps, knead together and just roll out again.
I learnt a tip for rolling things out at the BBC Good Food Show. I always have the problem of the pastry sticking to the rolling pin and the work surface. You can fix the rolling pin problem by coating your hands with flour and rubbing the rolling pin all over, but the counter is still a problem.
The solution is to flour the counter well, obviously, and when your rolling only push the pin back and forth a couple of times before picking up the pastry and turning it by 90 degrees. This means the pastry doesn’t get a chance to stick to the counter.
Anyway, then poke the round pastry shapes into the muffin tin.
I’m, uh, not very good at this. They don’t look very neat. But in the end that didn’t matter, so don’t fret too much if yours are messy too.
Then fill each one with about a tablespoon and a half of the mincemeat mixture.
Beat the egg in a jug and use a pastry brush to brush the edges of each pie with it.
Re-roll the pastry out (again on a floured work surface) and cut out more rounds, but this time with cutters that are about 7cm in diameter. Then fit them on top and gently press the edges down to seal them.
Make a small cross in the top of each pie, glaze with more egg wash and sprinkle over a little bit of caster sugar.
Then you just need to bake them. Mine were in the oven for about 15 minutes, but they might need up to 20 depending on how hot your oven is. They should be a gorgeous golden brown colour.
Wait until they’re cool — if you can resist — before removing them and sprinkling them with icing sugar. They should slide out of the muffin tray quite easily; if not, twirl them around a little bit in their slots to loosen them.
They truly are incredibly scrummy.