When Christmas is coming, one of the easiest traditional Christmas foods to make at home is mince pies. Once you have made your own mince pies, you may never go back to shop bought. Whether or not you make your own Christmas puddings or Christmas Cakes, making mince pies is so simple and fun to do – and so much less expensive than buying them. And you can make them at short notice for unexpected visitors. After all warm mince pies, straight from the oven, are the best!
I also make my own homemade mincemeat because it just tastes so much better than anything else – and you can choose what goes into the mincemeat. It is also ridiculously easy – if you have never tried it before, just have a look at how simple it is to make – really – it takes just a few minutes to mix and stir.
What could be better to get you in the Christmas mood than a bit of baking. Whack on the Christmas tunes and get your pinny on for mince pies!
Easy To Make Mince Pies
Making mince pies is just a case of making up some pastry, rolling it out, cutting out rounds and filling them with mincemeat -either your own homemade or shop bought. You can make your own fancy designs out of the pastry if you like, with some festive pastry cutters. Use different shapes to be the ‘lid’ on the pie.
These cutters can also be used to make festive biscuits, too.
All you need to make mince pies is some plain flour, some margarine, some cold water and some Mincemeat. If you wish to make your own mincemeat, refer to the recipe here. If you are new to pastry making, this is a good, simple place to start and with some immediate and yummy results!
So pop on your apron, find your Cliff Richard collection (Slade, the Pogues, Bing Crosby, Wizard, Band Aid, Carols from Kings, Handel’s Messiah, Best Christmas Songs Ever!), turn up the volume and get cooking! Just the smell of the mincemeat will get you in the Christmassy mood.
Here is White Christmas to get you started!
Sharing mince pies, or any food, is a simple way to express some Christmas spirit through giving, especially when it is made through your own labours.
If you are struggling to think of presents to give to friends or relations, consider giving them a gift of food – especially something you have made yourself. And while you are in pastry making mood, make twice the quantity of pastry and make a quiche for tea – or to pop in the freezer as a stand by for the festive season – whether for unexpected guests or to give yourself a day off from cooking!
Makes about 12 mince pies
- 140g / 5oz plain flour
- 70g / 2.5oz margarine
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- A little flour for dusting
- Lightly sieve the flour into the bowl (sieving is worth it, for lighter pastry)
- With cool hands and just your fingertips, rub the margarine into the flour as quickly, and lightly as possible
- When it looks like breadcrumbs, sprinkle over the water and draw the pastry into a ball
- Place in a polythene bag in the fridge for 30 minutes to ‘rest’
- Meanwhile, grease the tart tin with some butter
- Get out 2 teaspoons for the mince meat, and your cutters
- Dust the rolling out surface and the rolling pin with flour
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Divide the pastry in two, with one half a little bigger than the other
- Roll out the larger piece, as thinly as possible
- Using the larger cutter, cut out rounds in the pastry
- Place each round in a hole in the tart/mince pie tin
- Scoop up the pastry, form into a ball, roll out and cut more rounds
- When all the pastry has been used, get the mincemeat
- Use about one teaspoonful for each pie
- Scoop out the mincemeat with one teaspoon, and scrape into the pastry with the other
- Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out the tops
- Carefully place the tops on the mincemeat
- Gently squeeze the edges to ensure the top stays secure
- If using a shape just nip it where the shape touches the bottom pastry
- If you want a glossy top, brush the tops with a beaten egg (I tend not to bother)
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes
- Leave to cool on a wire rack
- Dust with icing sugar if desired