Isn’t it so much more impressive when someone makes mince pies from scratch? When they’re straight-from-the-oven hot and don’t come in those shiny supermarket silver foil cups? But on the other hand, isn’t making pastry are bit of a chore? And who even knows how to make mincemeat at home? (Well, actually, Sophie Caldecott probably does, but she is exceptional in the kitchen.) With this conundrum in mind, last week I came up with a method that’s a bit of a cheat because it uses ready-rolled pastry and jars of mincemeat. It’s dead easy and they come out looking decidedly authentic. Whether you choose to tell your guests the truth is entirely up to you.
You will need:
1 packet ready-rolled sweet shortcrust pastry
1 jar mincemeat
Flour for rolling
Milk for glazing
2 biscuit cutters – 1 large and 1 medium
1 muffin/cup cake tin
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Work out which size of biscuit cutter to use for the bases and tops of the pies, and cut out an equal number of each out of the pastry. Re-roll the leftovers and keep cutting – I managed to get 11 mince pies in total out of one packet of pasty.
2. Grease the baking tin and gently push the pastry circles into the individual cases.
3. Spoon about a tablespoon of mincemeat into each pastry case.
4. Brush a little milk around the edge of each pastry case. This will help the base and top to stick together.
5. Place a pastry top onto each case, push down gently and press the edges together firmly by using a fork all the way round. This is important otherwise the mixture can escape when baking. Stab the tops with a fork to let the steam escape. I also added personalised letters on top for my housemates and I using leftover scraps of pastry.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 mins, until they’re nicely browned on top. Et voila, quasi-homemade mince pies.