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Mince pies

Right through the Christmas season, it's always good to have mince pies at the ready. I love this almond and orange pastry – it gives an extra dimension to the sweet festive flavours.


Makes 18 pies, 25 mins preparation, 20 mins cooking, 1 hour chilling

Ingredients

  • 75g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 150g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pie tray
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ orange - juice and grated zest
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for rolling pastry
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 400g jar of good quality mincemeat
  • 2 tablespoons milk

  • 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter
  • 6cm fluted pastry cutter
  • Pie cutter

Method

  1. Using an electric mixer, blend the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Then slowly add the beaten egg, a little at a time, followed by the orange juice and zest.
  2. Sieve the flour into a separate bowl, add the salt and ground almonds, and mix together. With the mixer on a low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter mixture to form a soft dough.
  3. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.
  5. Roll out the dough on a cool, lightly floured work surface until 3mm thick. Use a 7.5cm fluted pastry cutter to cut out 12 bases, and a 6cm fluted pastry cutter to make 12 lids. (You'll have enough for 6 more – see step 8 below.)
  6. Lightly grease a mince pie tray with the extra butter. Place the pastry bases into the tray and fill each one with a teaspoon of mincemeat, being careful not to overfill. Using a pastry brush dipped in milk, dampen the edges of the pastry lids, then place onto the filled pies and gently press to seal. Brush the surfaces with a little more milk and use scissors to make a small slit in the centre of each pie.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool fully.
  8. When the mince pie tray has cooled, make the remaining 6 pies.
  9. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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