I have adapted the pastry from this BBC Good Food recipe ‘Unbelievably Easy Mince Pies’ by adding some egg to make it possible to roll out. It is a very short sweet pastry but it is very forgiving. If you have problems with pastry, my method does require some patience when rolling out as it can’t be too cold or too warm and it does have a tendency to crack/stick if not well floured. By all means follow the original recipe which is not meant to be rolled out but formed freehand in the patty tins by pressing a ball of dough into shape which will result in a more rustic looking pie. That method is also great if making these with children.
For anyone not familiar with mince pies, the modern day version we enjoy in the UK does not contain any meat. It is a mixture of brandy soaked dried fruits and you can find the recipe I use here or use a good supermarket mincemeat and stir in a splash of brandy or rum before spooning out into the pies.
Makes 24 mince pies
225g cold butter, cubed
350g white spelt/plain flour, sifted
90g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
icing sugar to dust
To make the pastry, rub the cold, diced butter into the flour, then mix in the golden caster sugar and a pinch of salt. Add half to all of the egg to form the pastry into a ball and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough now or chill it wrapped well in cling film for later.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Cut the pastry in two with one portion slightly less than half. Roll out the larger portion fairly thinly approx 3mm, onto a cling film covered and well floured surface. You will need to keep dusting the pin and the under surface of the dough otherwise the pastry will stick and crack. Line 22/24 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, with 8cm circles of pastry and gently pat into the holes. Spoon a heaped tea spoon of mincemeat into the pies, making sure the mincemeat doesn’t touch the edges of the pastry base.
Take the smaller amount of pastry and roll out. Cut 22/24 6cm circles and then brush the underside edges with milk. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal. (The pies may now be frozen at this point for up to 1 month).
Brush the tops of the pies with milk and apply any decoration, not forgetting to also brush the decoration with milk. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack by twisting the pies slightly to loosen them before lifting out.
To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.