You can’t have a British Christmas without mince pies. My mother told me it was important to eat at least a dozen over the festive period, to ensure twelve months of good luck for the coming year. I have no idea if this is even a real tradition, but I never need any convincing!
My mince pies are of the shallow variety, more about the pastry than the mincemeat, and that’s perhaps why the pastry is a little more special than I’d usually bother with. The ground almonds and lemon zest really elevate the texture and flavour. And more recently, I’ve started mixing my mincemeat with some Pedro-Ximenez sherry, which really makes your tastebuds say, “Yaaassss!!!”.
These little beauties have all the charm and nostalgia of my childhood, but I’ve made the recipe quicker and easier. Happy days!
Mum’s Mince Pies
- 275 g plain flour
- 25 g ground almonds
- 75 g sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 175 g butter (cold, cubed)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tbsp milk
- 450 g mincemeat
- 2 tbsp sherry (or brandy/port)
- Place the flour, ground almonds, caster sugar, salt, and lemon zest into a food processor, and blitz for 10 seconds to mix.
- Add the cold cubed butter, and blitz again until everything resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolk and milk, then continue to pulse until the dough just starts to come together.(If the dough is refusing to come together, you can add just a splash more milk)
- To avoid overworking, turn everything out onto a work surface and knead lightly until the dough is smooth.
- Shape the dough into a flat disc, then wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 3mm – the thickness of a pound coin.
- Using a fluted 8cm cutter, cut out 24 circles, and line the bottoms of the tartlet tins.
- Brush any excess flour off the pastry scraps, and return them to the fridge momentarily.
- Put the mincemeat in a small mixing bowl, and add 2 tablespoons of the alcohol of your choice. I love a Pedro Ximenez sherry, but brandy and port will also work well.
- Mix the mincemeat well to ensure the alcohol is completely incorporated.
- Spoon a small amount of the mincemeat into each pastry case – be careful not to overfill.
- Roll out the remainder of the pastry on a lightly floured surface, and punch out 24 star shapes.
- Place a star on top of the mincemeat to complete each mince pie.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack.
- Dust with icing sugar while the mince pies are still warm.
- Although mince pies can be enjoyed cold, they are best served warm.Place them on a baking tray and pop into a warm oven for 5 minutes to reheat.