Mince pies for Christmas

by Sunita on December 24, 2014

Another year is almost reaching its last few days. With it, comes another few days of holidays, and another Christmas. While growing up, Christmas was more or less confined to the convent school that I attended for twelve lovely years, and occasional visits to our Christian teachers to wish them. Apart from that, the happy factor came from the fact that another academic year had come to an end and we could enjoy our holidays without any school work.

A decade and more later of arriving in this country, our kids look upon Christmas with great spirit. It is one celebration that they have grown up seeing the whole country in which they are living, celebrate; as our traditional festivities are mostly confined within our own communities. Gradually the Christmas spirit caught up with us too, making costumes for the kids nativity plays, going along with other parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to watch them perform was something that was looked forward to. The Christmas tree found a place in our home, and Santa made sure that he dropped by, so that two little faces are not disappointed in the morning as they rush down the stairs to look under the tree. Those two little faces have grown up now; one already and the other almost a teenager, but the lore still holds strong. As I write this, there is a lot of quiet activity going on in two rooms,( inspite of them being extremely under the weather) discreetly wrapping presents for each other. Santa, will be at work too, once they go off to sleep; looks like it’s going to be a long night ahead!

I made some mince pies yesterday.

mince pies

I must confess that I did not make the mincemeat from scratch, but the pastry was homemade, and they did come out quite well. I was a bit hesitant to post it, but then a reader asked for the recipe, after seeing a picture of the mince pies on my facebook page, and I thought, well, why not? A shortcut, once in a while does no harm, right? So, put some Christmas songs on to get into the spirit and bake these lovely mince pies-

Ingredients-

2 and 2/3 C of plain flour (might need a little extra for dusting)

a pinch of salt

a little more that 1/2 C of caster sugar plus a little more to sprinkle on top

250 gms of unsalted butter a room temperature, but make sure it’s not too soft

1 egg + 1 egg(to brush the tops), lightly beaten

400 gm jar of good quality mincemeat

Method-

  1. Sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes, add to the flour and rub in with fingertips till the mixture resembles crumbs.
  3. Add the caster sugar and a lightly beaten egg,  and mix till everything comes together. You might want to take the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead very lightly, just till the mixture comes together into a ball.
  4. Flatten the ball slightly, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least fifteen minutes. You can keep it for longer,and if you do so, just let it sit out of the fridge for a few minutes before rolling.
  5. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C (fan assisted)
  6. Dust a rolling board and pin with a little flour and place half the pastry on it. Roll it out as thinly as possible and cut out 12 circles of  3 inches in diameter.
  7. Line a deep muffin tray with the pastry circles and spoon about 1 and a 1/2 tspns of mincemeat ( I took the mincemeat out of the jar and into a bowl and gave it a good mix) into them.
  8. With a little from the other beaten egg, lightly brush the edges of the pastry.
  9. Now, roll the other half of the pastry and cut out 12 smaller discs of 2 and a 1/2 inches in diameter, and place on top of the mincemeat, making sure to seal the edges.
  10. Snip three small holes on top of the pastry with a small scissor to let the steam escape and brush the tops with beaten egg. If you feel like it, with the scraps of leftover pastry, you can cut out some decorations like small stars and place on top of the pastry, making sure not to cover the steam outlets, and brush them with egg.
  11. Sprinkle a little caster on top and bake in the centre of the pre heated oven for 15-20 minutes or till golden. Keep an eye on them as they might brown too quickly.
  12. Let the mince pies cool in the tray for a while. To take them out out, run a thin knife lightly round the edges and carefully lift them out. If storing for later, cool them completely on a wire rack and store in air tight containers.
  13. They are best had warm, dusted with a little icing sugar.

mince pie recipe

Here’s wishing you all a very merry Christmas, and as we sit down with your loved ones on Christmas day, let us spare a thought for those less fortunate than us and count our blessings! Right, now this Santa has got some wrapping to do; Ho, Ho, Ho!

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