9 December 2014
Mini mince pies
1. To make the pastry, sieve the flour into a large cool bowl then mix in the salt and sugar. Cut the margarine into small pieces and drop it into the bowl, then rub it in quickly and lightly with your fingertips until it reaches the breadcrumb stage. Make a well in the middle, add a little cold water at a time [I used two and a half tablespoons altogether] and use a knife to combine it with the flour mixture until it begins to come together. Finally, use cool hands to form the dough, wrap it in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees or 170 degrees fan oven. Lightly grease each hole in the mini muffin tin.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry fairly thinly then cut out 24 rounds with the circular cutter. Drop each round into a hole in the mini muffin tin and press in gently. Carefully put a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie, up to the level of the pastry sides. Cut 24 small stars from the pastry and place one on top of the mincemeat in each pie. Brush the pastry stars lightly with milk, then bake for about 15 minutes on the top shelf of the oven, or until the pastry is cooked.
4. Leave the pies in the tin for a few moments when you take them out of the oven, then carefully lift them out onto a cooling rack. Once they have cooled down, sprinkle with icing sugar.
These sweet bite sized festive pies are perfect to hand round at parties, or to add to your Christmas buffet.
Mince pies always taste best warm; they are lovely served fresh from the oven, after having cooled down for a few minutes. Or you can make them in advance and store them in an airtight container, then quickly warm them through in the oven just before serving.
This recipe will make 24 mini mince pies. There should even be enough to make yourself a little mincemeat pasty with the leftover pastry, chef’s perk!