Sunday, 23 December 2012

Pastries of Death Part 5: Morbid Mince Pies

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies.  They're right up there with pretending to believe in Jesus and the classic familial arguments over whether to watch Ben Hur or Hook.  And, thanks to my indomitable Christmas spirit, here is a recipe that you still have time to make before the big day!

"Mincemeat" in mince pies is so called because of the use of beef suet, not because they actually contain minced meat.  However, you can get vegetarian suet these days, so it's all good.

Nothing fancy here - just some easy home-baked goodies that everyone can enjoy.  Some people use sweetened pastry but I think normal shortcrust is fine, especially since you're going to dust them with sugar anyway.  Enjoy them hot or cold and add some whipped cream if your waistline doesn't bother you - to be honest you were probably pretty far gone by this point anyway.

Ingredients (to make 20 pies)

  • 500g shortcrust pastry (see here for a recipe:
  • Juice and grated zest of one orange
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g suet
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g dried apricots, shredded
  • 100g Muscovado sugar (bit of a pattern forming here isn't there)
  • One Braeburn apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • Cheeky splash of brandy
  • Caster sugar, to dust
  • Splash of milk, to glaze
  • Vegetable oil to line the tin
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix everything apart from the pastry (duh) and caster sugar together in a bowl.
  3. Roll out your pastry thinly and cut little rounds using ether a cookie cutter or an upturned cup (if you're too poor to buy the former).  You want some excess to make inverted pentagram lids.
  4. Using a screwed up piece of kitchen roll, smear a little bit of vegetable oil around the bases of your bun tins, then arrange your rounds in the tins.  Fill the bases with the mincemeat mixture, then cut little straight bits of pastry and arrange awesome pentagram patterns on top of the pies. Give them a glaze of milky glaziness using a pastry brush, sprinkle caster sugar over the top and put them in the oven for 15-18 minutes until they're golden brown.

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