Christmas and me, me and Christmas...its my time. Maybe because I am a Christmas baby, but its a time when you get all together, friends and family, and cook and laugh and drink. I have had many a mad Christmas, cooking huge amounts of food, whilst drinking lashings of wine, being convinced that home made blinis were really necessary, goose, turkey, venison or capon... which to have... sprouts or no sprouts ... decorating the house, how many trees can you have in one place, and the table.. getting it all to look special and pretty, and then having all your special people together... its me! Xxx
So of course that means mince pies and I love making them. I make them ahead of the game, and freeze them, to then pop in the oven for a few minutes, as and when you need a little shot of gorgeousness. Mine are a bite size ones, although my gorgeous friend Amelia, told me today, that her mummy used to make them big, and then you gently prised the lid off and drip thimble full of brandy in before scoffing! YUM..
I am not a snob about brought pastry and actually buy it most of the time, especially that fabulous french ready rolled brand. But for these mince pies, the deliciousness is in the pastry I think. It is a very short pastry so you can only handle a little at a time, but its so so worth it!
Makes about 48 little ones!
450g plain flour
375g chilled butter, cubed
175g icing or caster sugar
Grated rind of 1 large orange and 3-4 tbsp of juice
Put the flour and butter into a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, grated orange and juice and pulse until the mixture just begins to come together. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead lightly until smooth. Divide the soft dough into four pieces, wrap and chill for at least an hour before using. (You can also freeze it at this stage)
Once chilled, roll out the pastry out on a floured surface with a correct size cutter, work quite fast as the pastry can become very soft quickly. Cut out the chosen shape for the lid and then if too soft, pop in the fridge to slightly firm up. Grease your tartlet tins, and then press discs gently in. Fill the pies with a teaspoon of good quality mincemeat, and top with a lid.
Bake at 180 degrees for 15 minutes, for small ones, or 20 minutes for larger ones, but keep an eye on them, you don’t want them too brown.
Leave to cool in the tins for a little while to stop them crumbling and then turn out. I then freeze mine, so I always have a go to when people pop in... or store in an air tight tin... top with brandy butter and christmas has begun! Xxx