Christmas is a great time to eat food that you don’t eat at any other time of year. Sometimes this is because it is a traditional food, or very expensive. May be it is just too rich to have more than a couple of times a year – or of course contains just too many calories! Mince pies may fit into one or all of those categories, depending on your point of view but I really think that there is little other food that tastes more of Christmas, than mince pies. They are fun and easy to make and it is good to have a supply for when friends drop in for a cup of tea during the festive season!
I have usually made mince pies with shortcrust pastry, but sometimes its good to have a go at doing a traditional food, in a different way. It helps to alleviate any mince pie boredom that may have set in too, if any of your guests have just had too many already during yuletide!!
There are few foods more indicative of Christmas than mince pies – make them with a little difference by using pate sucreé
If you want to make your mince pies that bit extra special, try making this pastry – and then filling it with homemade mincemeat! If you have never made mincemeat before, you may be surprised at how easy it is to make. It really takes only minutes to put together and tastes so much better than shop bought mincemeat. It is more economical too, especially when you consider the quality of what you make.
This recipe for mince pies made with pate sucreé was given to me by Bradley – the teenage son of my friend Diane (see Diane’s Cauliflower Soup). He is a teenager that likes to cook and this is one of his Christmas recipes.
Pate Sucreé is a french pastry, rich and sweet, but fairly straightforward to make. As with shortcrust pastry, keep things cool, including your hands and handle the dough as little as possible. It needs to be chilled in the fridge once made, before it is used. This pastry is great to use for any sweet pastries and pies, instead of short crust or flaky pastry. So surprise and treat your family and friends!
You will also need a pie tin or individual cake cases and some cutters, one smaller than the other, the larger one forming the base of the pie, and the smaller being the top. Choose the size of cutter to fit your cases or tin, taking into account the depth too.
Pate Sucre Mince Pies
Makes about 12
- 250g /8oz Butter
- 125g /4oz caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence or almond essence
- 375g /13oz plain flour
- pinch of salt (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C, Fan oven 160 degrees C
- Cream butter and sugar
- Beat in the egg with vanilla essence and flour alternately until all mixed in
- Bring together as a ball of dough
- Chill for 15-30 minutes, but do not over do the chilling or else it can be too hard to use
- Cut dough ball into two pieces
- Using a rolling pin, roll out one piece
- Cut large circles to fit cake tin/cake cases for the base and up the sides
- Fill the pastry cases with mincemeat
- Roll out the second piece
- Cut smaller circles to fit over top of each pie
- Cook for about 15-20mins depending on oven/fan
- Allow to cool before serving (Filling will be very hot!)
Best served with mulled wine!
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