Mince Meat and Mince Pies

Finally, it is this time of year again.

I adore Christmas time, the chance to eat a little more than usual and indulge with friends and family.

I love to make my own mincemeat and mince pies - frankly there is not a shop bought recipe that comes close.

The mincemeat is aromatic and stuffed full of plump fruit. The pastry is so short that it only just holds the mince meat in the case.

My recipe is based around Delia’s - the same recipe that I grew up with as a boy. Over the years I have upped the booze and spice to suit my tastes.

I often add other seasonal favourites such as dried cranberries and walnuts to my mincemeat.

Mince Pies : Close Up


for the Mince Meat [makes 96 mince pies] :

350 g raisins
25 g sultanas
225 g currants
225 g shredded suet
50 g glace cherries, chopped fine
225 g whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
350 g soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 2 oranges
grated zest and juice 2 lemons
450 g Bramley apples, cored and chopped small
50 g flaked almonds
50 g brazil nuts, chopped
50 g hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons mixed ground spice
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
12 tbsp Brandy
6 tbsp Armagnac
6 Rum

for the Mince Pies [makes 24] :
3 tbsp Brandy
500 g mincemeat
75 g butter, chopped into cubes
75 g lard, chopped into cubes
350g plain flour, sifted
2 tbsp cold water
pinch of salt
splash of milk to brush the top

Icing sugar to dust


for the Mince Meat :

1) Add the dried fruit and nuts to a bowl.
2) Add the suet, glace cherries, spices and dark brown sugar. Stir well to coat.
3) Add the zest and juices of the orange and lemon.
4) Add the chopped apple and stir again.
5) Add half of the Brandy, Rum and Armagnac.
6) Stir well to coat all the fruit. Loosely cover with tin foil and set aside for 24 hours.
7) Preheat the oven to gas mark 3.
8) Put the mincemeat on an oven tray and cook for 3 to 3 and a half hours.
9) When ready, remove from the oven and set aside.
10) Stir frequently as it cools, so that the fat solidifies evenly.
11) Add the remaining alcohol and stir well.
12) Store in sterilised jars until needed.

The mincemeat gets better and better with age.
(I like to top them up with Brandy once a week.)

for the Mince Pies :
1) Add the butter, lard, pinch of salt and flour to a food processor.
2) Pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
3) Add the water (you may need a little more). Pulse the mixture until it just comes together.
4) Tip it out on to the side and bring together by hand.
5) Flatten into a disc, wrap with cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for an hour.
6) Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Add the brandy to the mincemeat and stir well.
7) Remove the pastry from the fridge and place it onto a floured work surface.
8) Roll out to 2 to 3 mm thick.
9) Lightly grease the mince pie tray.
10) Cut out the bottoms of the mince pies.
11) Place the bottom in the mince pie tray.
12) Fill with mincemeat, stopping just before the top.
13) Re roll the pastry and cut out the tops.
14) Using your finger, run water around the top of the mince pies.
15) Gently press the tops down to form a seal,
16) Snip the tops to allow the steam to escape.
17) Brush with milk and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
18) Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool.
19) Remove the mince pie and place on a wire rack to cool.
20) Dust with sieved icing sugar.

Mince Pies : Weight out the fruit

Weigh out the dried fruit

Mince Pies : Chop the nuts

Chop the nuts

Mince Pies : Add the almonds

Add the almond flakes

Mince Pies : Add the candied rind

Add the candied fruit rind

Mince Pies : Add the suet

Add the suet

Mince Pies : Add the ginger

Add the spices

Mince Pies : Add the brown sugar

Add the sugar

Mince Pies : Add the zest

Add the orange zest

Mince Pies : Stir Well

Add the lemon zest

Mince Pies :

Add the chopped apple

Mince Pies : Cover and set aside

Leave overnight for the alcohol to be absorbed and the fruit to plump up

Mince Pies : Fruit plump

Fruit plumped

Mince Pies : Place on an oven tray and cook

Place on an oven tray

Mince Pies : Out of the oven

Stir frequently as the mince meat cools and the fat solidifies. Add the remaining alcohol

Mince Pies : Place into sterilized jars

Place into sterilised jars

Mince Pies : Add the butter

Add the butter to a food processor

Mince Pies : Add the lard

Add the lard and a pinch of salt

Mince Pies : Add the flour

Add the flour

Mince Pies : Pulse till breadcrumbs

Pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs

Mince Pies : Add the water

As it comes together, tip onto the side and bring together with your hands

Mince Pies : Bring it together wih your hands and place in the fridge

Dough flattened into a disc

Mince Pies : Place in the fridge

Cover with cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes minimum

Mince Pies : Grease the tin

Grease the mince pie dish

Mince Pies : Roll out the pastry

Remove the pastry from the fridge and place on a lightly floured surface

Mince Pies : Roll to 50p thickness

Roll out to 2 - 3 mm thickness

Mince Pies : Line the tins

Place the bottoms into the tin

Mince Pies : Cut out the tops

Cut out the tops. I have gone for a mixture of stars and rounds

Mince Pies : Fill the pies

Fill the pies with mince meat

Mince Pies : Seal the tops with water

Run a little across the top, and stick the to on, pressing down gently

Mince Pies : Brush over with milk

Brush with milk and snip the top of the round pies

Mince Pies : Remove after 25-30 minutes

Remove and leave in the tin for 5 minutes

Mince Pies : Dust with icing sugar

Allow to cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar

Mince Pies : Close Up

Last One!

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