My desk really did look this cluttered last week. Not sure how we all manage to squeeze quite so much into the last week of term. Despite the frenzy, I still made the time to make some of these super tasty Christmas mince pies for the great ladies of my faculty.
This year I varied the recipe for the fruit mince a little by substituting cranberries and crystallised ginger for most of the sultanas. I've been making these for years and couldn't tell you where the recipe originally came from. The fruit mince keeps for weeks in the fridge, so you can have some on standby all through the Christmas season. We also made a little batch today for Little Miss to take to Santa.
Christmas Mince Pies
For the filling:
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large tart apples
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sultanas
1 1/2 cups cranberries
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup crystallised ginger
1/2 cup glace cherries
1/2 cup currents
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup brandy
Peel the rind from the orange and lemon with a potato peeler. Place in a large food processor with the sugar and process until the rind is finely chopped.
Add the unpeeled apples cut into chunks and lemon juice, the sultanas, ginger, and half the cranberries and raisins.
Process this first lot of ingredients until finely chopped.
Finally add the remaining fruit and the spices and flavourings. Pulse briefly to combine. The final lot of fruit should retain most of its shape.
Place the fruit mince into a large airtight jar and store in the refrigerator until your ready to use.
Make the pastry: If time is short you can use store bought, ready rolled sweet pastry.
Make a sweet pastry by creaming together 125g of butter with 125g caster sugar. Beat in 1 egg, then fold in 1 1/2 cups of sifted flour with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
The pastry is very soft and delicate and needs to be wrapped and firming up in the fridge before it can be used. The pastry will keep on hand, quite happily, in the fridge for a few days, and can be frozen for longer storage.
To make the pies:
Preheat the oven to 180deg. C.
Roll out the pastry between two floured sheets of plastic food wrap. Cut into circles using a fluted cutter. Place the circles of pastry into a shallow tartlet tin.
Place teaspoon lots of the fruit mince into each tart.
Top each one with a star pastry cut out, or any similar shape you might prefer.
Bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to rest in the tin for a few minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.
Dust with icing sugar before serving. I always keep a supply of cellophane bags handy for packaging up home made gifts. Little Miss was super excited to be visiting Santa today. She thought he might need a cup of tea and a Christmas Mince Pie after his busy day at Ballantynes.