It’s my favourite time of year again, there’s a fattened goose in the fridge, oysters and gravadlax, smoked mackerel pate, salmon and blinis, champagne and a cheeseboard to die for… And of course mince pies! As you know I make my mince without fat or butter, perfect for vegetarians. I stoop to a teaspoon of marge if my binding doesn’t quite work out, but you’ll find it really not essential!
I like to mix things up a bit so this year I’ve made apple and walnut mince pies… For 16 mince pies you’ll need:
- Plain Flour – 110 g (4 oz)
- 50 g Butter or Marge depending on your preference
- Water – 1 tablespoon cold water
- A pinch of salt
rub the butter and flour together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the water and knead until you get a smooth, maleable dough. Pour yourself a wee dram of cognac and stick on Ella singing Christmas tunes to get into the festive spirit.
For the mince meat:
- 1 large cooking apple, peeled and diced finely.
- 150 gr walnuts, smashed to little pieces
- 25 gr candied peel
- 25 gr of raisins or sultanas soaked in brandy
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 2 crushed cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder
- 2 tablepoons french brandy or cognac, or even armagnac
- 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour.
Cover the mixture, add more flour if it is too liquid… leave to soak up the brandy for a couple of days in a cool, dark place.
Heat your oven to 200°. Roll out your dough into 3 millimetre thick sheet and cut out 16 large circles and 16 smaller ones. Butter a cupcake tray and place the large circles of pastry into them, filling with a spoonful of the mincemeat (don’t overfill!). Place the smaller circles on top and pinch together, use a bit of milk to moisten the edges if it helps bind them.
Make some little decorations from the left over bits of pastry, I like to do a holly leaf, but be creative!
Pop in the oven for 20 mins or until golden brown. I like to give them as presents too… Perfect with cream or brandy butter!