• 220g cold salted butter
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp of spice
  • Half of a 411g jar of mincemeat
  • 12 glacé cherries
  • Icing sugar to dust

There’s so much said about mince pies, with most of the focus on the filling. Well, I’m going to have to confess that for me it’s all about the pastry. I care not for wafer thin pastry, sodden from huge dollops of mincemeat. No siree! I want thick shortbread sweet pastry wrapped around a smidgen of mincemeat. I even add a jewel of a glacé cherry before I crown with more pastry in the form of a thick lid. This recipe is an oldie but a goodie with just a hint of reinvention.

One year ago: Hot chocolate on a stick

Two years ago: Caramel, nutmeg and brandied raisin ice-cream

Shortbread pastry mince pies with bejewelled filling

Makes about 12

Ingredients:

  • 220g cold salted butter, cut into smallish pieces
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 tsp of spice, I used Vanilla Pudding Spice which smells a bit like a Christmassy coffee shop, but you can use cinnamon or nutmeg or mixed spice or ginger…
  • Half of a 411g jar of mincemeat for filling. See my recipe for Drunken cherry brandy mincemeat or any bought jar you like and respect
  • 12 glacé cherries
  • Icing sugar to dust

Pop the oven onto 180C/Gas 4 and find a non stick tin – I use a Nordic Ware one but please don’t use anything you’re not sure of. This pastry has a habit of sticking into less reliable pans.

Take the butter, sugar, spice and flour and blitz in a food processor until combined – takes about 1 minute or you can rub in by hand instead if you wish. You should end up with a ball of dough. (Don’t add any liquid, if it’s not coming together use your hands to help it along.)

Take the dough and inspect to make sure all the ingredients are combined. If not, give it a brief knead with your hands. Then break off a ball of dough about the size of a ping pong ball. Squash it and work into a disc shape with your hands then line each tart tin hole with the disc, pushing carefully into the corners. If it breaks patch it up with more pastry. These are not dainty pretty mince pies so worry not about a haphazard appearance.

Fill the pastry bottom with 2 teaspoons of mincemeat and a glacé cherry, then take a slighter smaller ball of pastry and fashion into a disc for the lid. Press onto the top of the filled mince pie and squeeze the edges together until the little pie is airtight. The pastry is best when about half a centimetre thick all over – if that helps the description at all.

Continue until all the pastry is used up, then pop in the oven for 15-ish mins. Once lightly browned let them cool in the tin then gingerly move to a wire rack until the filling has completely cooled. Dust with icing sugar and then watch them disappear. I can highly recommend these for breakfast too. Especially before braving the Christmas shops. Oh and I wanted to share what’s happened to our Christmas tree. It got decorated by two Spiderman mad boys. Happy days.

 

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