Mince Pies. They’re a bit like Marmite really. So distinctly British that no one outside the UK has a clue what they are, and such an acquired taste that you either love ’em or you hate ’em.
As an outright lover of the deliciously fruity morsels, each year I find myself playing around with their format. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than a stodgy, pastry-heavy pie. The key to mince pie perfection is all in the ratio of pastry to filling.
This weekend I went rather off-piste, away from the usual shortcrust shells, and toward a free-standing puff pastry alternative, with a cheeky citrus infusion. They were delightful. Light, crispy, and dare I say – the ratio was totally on point.
These are super easy to whip up, and look delightful on a plate, whether you’re baking them for your own personal feast, or to share with fellow lovers of the beloved festive treat.
1 frozen puff-pastry sheet, defrosted (they usually come in packs of two)
1/4 jar of store-bought mincemeat (I used Robertson’s)
Zest of an orange
1 egg, beaten
Circle & start cookie cutters
Icing sugar to dust (optional)
1/ Set your oven to 220°C (200°C if you’ve got a fan oven).
2/ Unroll your pastry sheet, and cut out as many circles as you can – I managed 9.
3/ Place circles evenly spaced apart on a lined baking tray.
4/ Place about a pinch of orange zest onto each circle, and gently rub onto the pastry.
5/ Place a teaspoon of mincemeat into the centre of each circle.
6/ Brush the outer 1/2 cm of each circle with egg wash.
7/ Gather the remaining pastry into a ball, and roll out to the same thickness as the circles, sprinkling the surface with flour to stop the pastry from sticking.
8/ Cut out stars for each pie, and carefully place on top of each mincemeat mount, gently pressing each point onto the egg-washed circle.
9/ Brush the pies with egg wash – this will make them nice and shiny.
10/ Place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes. They’re done once they’re puffed up, golden brown, and sizzlin’! So keep an eye on them!
11/ Remove from the oven and allow to cool. At this point you can dust with icing sugar – I forgot. Got sidetracked by an intense urge to gobble as many as possible to fuel me up for a Christmas Tree decorating sesh!
The grand result of consuming this festive fuel….drum-roll please…..