When you see the mince pies out in the supermarkets, you know Christmas is coming! I have always loved mince pies since I was a little girl! I love to warm them up and eat them with fresh cream.
THE HISTORY OF MINCE PIES
Mince pies are a traditional British sweet pie, and the name Mince Pie always has people in a confusion about what the filling includes.
‘Mincemeat’ is very confusing to some but the truth is a Mince Pie used to be made with actual meat, like lamb, as well as dried fruit, during the Stuart and Georgian times (hence the name mincemeat). It is believed that the ingredients for this “Christmas Pie” came from Crusaders, who brought the ingredients back from their travels in the Middle East, hence the spices used, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the past, Mince pies were made at Christmas to be eaten by the rich, as they could afford to employ the best pastry makers, showing their wealth to others. Today, a Mince pie is made with a modern ‘Mincemeat’, which includes a combination of dried fruits like currants and raisins, apples, suet and candied fruit like oranges, spices, then it is soaked in a brandy or sherry.
WE LOVE MINCE PIES!
We love Mince pies in the UK! They can be found in every home at Christmas, whether they are shop bought or homemade. They will always be enjoyed at some point during the festive period. Over the years it has become tradition for children to use mince pies as a Christmas Eve treat for Father Christmas. In our house we leave a plate by the tree with a mince pie, glass of milk and carrot sticks (for the reindeers of course!)
Every year I always say that I am going to make my own mince pies but I never do! This year, however, I changed that! I did it! I made my own homemade mince pies! I am loving my new kitchen and loving being back to cooking and baking again! On this occasion, I stuck on a Christmas Film, Love Actually to be specific. I got the ingredients out and preheated the oven! I was in a very festive spirit having spent the morning listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album (comes out every year!)
I took a risk and created my own recipe. I wanted to create something easy, sweet and nothing sour or bitter. I personally find some of the shop bought mince pies quite strong in taste and bitter, I think this is because of the dried fruits being soaked in alcohol. I do however love the Marks & Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s mince pies from a selection of pies I tried from various supermarkets. I have decided not to include alcohol in my recipe and have taken out the suet and spices. I know, all the good stuff, right?! From this I have created a mince pie that has a delicate sweet citrus taste and easy to eat. My nearly 2 year old son approved these mince pies and if he liked them then I know I’ve done a good job!
So here it is, my Easy Homemade Mince Pies..
(makes enough filling for 24 pies)
320g Dried Mixed Fruit (I used a bag of sultanas, raisins, currants and candied citrus peel)
300g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
30ml Smooth Orange Juice
1 Zest of Lemon
1 Pack of Ready Rolled Shortcrust Pastry
Tip: To make 12 minces pies I used one pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry (once I used the cookie cutter whatever strays of pastry was left I reworked and rolled out to cut out the rest of the tops)
Lucybee Coconut Oil
1 egg, whisked
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, fan oven
Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin with a little melted coconut oil
In a large bowl mix all the filling ingredients together and then pour into a saucepan
On a medium to low heat lightly melt the sugar just for a few minutes (any longer it will burn) I found that this just helped the sugar bond the filing well
Take off the saucepan off the heat and set aside to cool
On a clean and floured surface, unfold the shortcrust pastry
Using two cookie cutters, I used one that is 7 1/2cm diameter for the base and another 6 1/2cm diameter for the lid as I found that these fit perfectly into my muffin tin, cut out 12 bases and 12 lids, keep them organised in terms of size so you don’t get muddled up!
Fill the muffin tin with the bases, gently pressing down to fill the mould of the tin
Using a tablespoon amount for each mould, fill the the bases
Any leftover mince pie filling put into an air tight container or jars and store in the freezer for up to 1 Month
Using a pastry brush, brush a little egg wash to the edges of the pastry before placing the lids on top and lightly pinching the edge of the lid and base together
Using the tip of a knife, create a little slit in the middle of the pastry lid and add a little egg wash over the whole top
Bake on the middle shelf for around 15-20 minutes or until you have a lovely golden colour pastry top
Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and dust with a little icing sugar
Serve hot or cold with ice cream or cream
Store in an airtight container on the kitchen side or in the fridge for up to a week!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and have fun baking this christmas time!
How do you like your mince pie?