Advent Calendar – Day 23

Two more sleeps! I really can’t believe the big day is nearly here! So have you wrapped all the presents, collected the turkey, made mince pies to leave out for santa?  Don’t panic there’s still time.  Todays advent treat is my very own recipe for mince pies that santa will be thrilled to eat as he rushes aroung the world on his sleigh tomorrow night.

Ingredients

250g Self Raising Flour (and extra for dusting
your board & rolling pin)

125g Butter

2 tbsp Light Muscavado Sugar

2tbsp Cold Water

Jar of Mincemeat

Utensils

Mixing Bowl

Palette Knife

Tablespoon

Kitchen Scales

Bun Tin (like you would use for fairy
cakes)

Round Pastry Cutter (or a small plastic cup
would work)

Small Holly Leaf Cutter (or other christmas
shapes or smaller round cutter)

Rolling Pin

Mat or Board to roll our your pastry

This recipe makes about 12 mince
pies


1. Put your flour and butter
into your mixing bowl and rub together to make fine breadcrumbs. I’m always
telling my children you just need your fingertips not your whole hands to make a
breadcrumb mixture! Once you think you’re done give the bowl a little shake and
any large lumps will rise to the top so you can rub these in too.
 
2. Using your fingers stir the sugar in to the breadcumb mixture.
Muscavado sugar does tend to be a little lumpy so will need to be rubbed in to
your breadcrumbs. For a lighter pastry try using icing sugar instead.
 
 
3. Now add one tbsp of cold water and stir into
the breadcrumb mixture using a palette knife. I guess you could use a metal
spoon but I have always used a metal pallette knife. Add the second tablespoon
of cold water and stir in to your mixture. It may now be necessary to bring the
mixture together with your hands. If the mixture is a little too crumbly add a
few drops of cold water, but only add tiny amounts as this can make a big
difference in the texture of your pastry.
 
 
4. Sprinkle some flour on your mat or board and
your rolling pin. Take half of your pastry and roll out to about 5mm (1/2cm)
thickness. Cut out as many circles as you can and put these in to your bun
tray. Pop the bits of pastry back into a ball and roll out again and cut out
circles again.
 
 
 
5. Once you have filled your bun tray with pie
bases add roughly a teaspoon of mincemeat to each pie. The trick is not to
overload your pie bases!
 
6. Roll out some more pastry and cut your pie
tops. I prefer to have little christmas shapes, like bells, christmas trees or
holly leaves and found my tiny cutters in a kitchen shop for about 50p each.
However you can make smaller circle tops for your mince pies if you prefer. Pop
your pie tops on top of the mincemeat filled pie bases.
7. Put the tray of mince pies into the oven for
about 15-20 mins on 160 degrees C (that’s for a fan oven), so 180 for a normal
electric oven and gas mark 4. The pastry should be a golden brown colour when
cooked.
(these were
golden brown honest!)

8. Leave the mince pies to cool in their tray
for a short while, about 10 minutes is fine, then remove from the tray and pop
on a cooling tray. Don’t worry if one accidentaly breaks as you get it out of
hte tim and you have to eat it!
Once cooled the mince pies should be stored in
an airtight container and will last for at least a week. Alternatively you can
freeze them in a box or bag for a month or two.
These mince pies are delicious warm and served with brandy butter or cream.

Other ideas for your mince pies

When you
have made your breadcrumbs keep a small amount aside and use these as a crumble
topping instead of a pie top.

Add a small ball of marzipan to your mince
pies before putting their tops on.

Add extra cherries and/or nuts to your
jar of mincemeat.

Bake your mince pies open then add a circle of
fondant icing as a top when the pies have cooled.

To make a bigger batch
the general rules for pastry are half fat to flour, a tbsp of sugar for each
125g of flour and a tablespoon of cold water for each 125g of flour.

Enjoy!
Zoe
x