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collection by ICAF Europe

Mince Pies

These today are sold in supermarkets all over Great Britain, but they relate more to English tradition than Scottish.

Short crust pastry [see below for two alternative appropriate pastry recipes]
Mincemeat (which is not meat at all, although way back in history it did contain meat).I personally buy ready-made mincemeat in a jar, but it should contain:
shredded suet
grated apple
a variety of dried fruit (currants, sultanas, candied lemon and orange peel)
chopped almonds
different sweet spices
a little brandy or rum

. . . . . .

Roll out the pastry, and using 2 different sizes of circular pastry cutter, cut the same number of rounds with each size of cutter. Some people like the larger cutter to be fluted to provide a pattern.

Grease a patty baking tin (this is a baking tray with indentations for 12 small tarts, pies, cakes or buns). Put one of the larger circles of pastry in each indentation as the base of each pie. Then on each pastry base put a small spoonful of the "mincemeat". Do not put too much or in cooking it will boil over out of its little pie and burn. Then place one of the smaller circles of pastry on each pie as a lid. Press down the edges to tighten the lids on to the bases and pierce the tops.

Bake in the centre of a hot oven (220oC) until golden brown (some 20-25 minutes, but check sooner in case they are ready). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Some people then sprinkle icing sugar over them.

They can be served cold, or warmed up. They may be eaten with mid-afternoon tea, or as a main meal dessert with brandy butter or cream.

Hot mince pies as a dessert

Cold at teatime

Photographs (c)2008 Helen Macbeth

Two alternative pastry recipes, suitable for mince pies

(measurements changed from imperial to metric)

1. Standard shortcrust pastry

225 g self-raising flour
60 g margarine
55 g lard

Mix flour and fat to a fine breadcrumb texture. If needed, add a little cold water at a time to form a dough. Knead dough and leave it to rest in the fridge before using.

2. 'Mary's pastry for mince pies

225 g self-raising flour
140 g butter or margarine

Leave butter or margarine in the freezer for at least an hour. Then grate the frozen fat into the flour and mix with finger tips. If needed, add a little cold water at a time to form a dough. Knead dough and leave it to rest in the fridge before using. This is more like a flaky pastry, but is very nice for mince pies.