Monday, 3 December 2012

Star struck mince pies

Apologies for not posting this recipe as promised we have been having problems with our internet connection over the weekend.
A mince pie should be a rich melt in the mouth experience. So keep pastry light and roll it as thinly as possible. I use all lard and no butter but I have given a half and half quantity. Lard makes extremely light pasty and is a hugely undervalued commodity but I know many of you would prefer to find some butter in your pastry.
If you don't make your own mincemeat add a finely chopped cooking apple and a little extra spirit to shop bought to subtle-up the flavour. If you want to make your own, take a look at my special mincemeat recipe in the previous post. One more thing don’t over-do the mincemeat because it will boil out of the pies.

makes 24

2 x 12 mince pie trays, greased
2 fluted pastry cutters 7cm and 6cm
1 star shaped cutter 4-5cm

400 g plain flour sieved
Pinch salt
100 g butter and 100 g lard cold from fridge cut into cubes
Cold water
caster sugar for sprinkling
extra flour for rolling
Icing sugar for serving

1- 2 pots good quality mince meat
1 cooking apple or hard pear finely chopped
2 tablespoons brandy or rum

Pre-heat oven to 180C gas mark 4

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the chopped fat and rub in with the tips of your fingers to form crumbs.
Add 6-8 tablespoons cold water and mix with a knife and bring the dough together in a ball with the fingers.
Flour a work surface. Cut the dough in half and roll out a piece at a time as thinly as possible and cut out 24 discs with the larger of the two cutters.
Line the greased mince pie trays with the pastry disks.
Tip the mincemeat in a bowl, add the chopped apple and the brandy or rum and mix well. Add a generous teaspoon of mince meat to each pie.
Now roll out the other ball of dough, dusting the work surface first with more flour. This time cut out 24 discs with the smaller cutter. Then cut a star shape into the middle of the disks without taking out the "star".
Using a pastry brush paint the edges of the pies with cold water and put the starred lids on top and seal. Paint the lids with cold water and sprinkle generously with caster sugar and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden.
Leave to cool in tins and then transfer to a rack until quite cold. Store in an airtight tin or freezer until required and reheat in a warm oven and dust with icing sugar before serving.

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