Monday, 26 December 2016

How to make three easy kinds of mince pies

Mince pie recipe

It's Boxing Day! That means one thing - mince pie baking (and napping). And lots of it.
I'm about to go and eat one with a glass of wine, but before I do, I wanted to get these 3 quick and easy variations of mince pies up so that you can make them for yourself today or tomorrow.

Because we're so used to seeing them in boxes in shops, it's easy to assume that they're tricky to make for yourself - but they aren't at all. In fact, anyone with an oven can do it!

The three kinds I make, because everyone in my family has a different favourite, are mince pie cakes (a pastry bottom, mince filling and topped with a spiced sponge layer), heart shaped mince pies (all pastry) and mini spiced mince cakes (spiced sponge cakes with a hidden mincemeat centre). I always make my own pastry, but if you don't have time, or just don't want to, then use a packet of roll-out shortcrust pastry.

My recipe for the pastry is:

- 225g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 3-4ish tbsp milk (a splash really)
- 25g caster sugar

My recipe for the spiced cake mix:

- 175g butter
-100g brown sugar
-175g self raising flour
-1tsp baking powder
-3tsp mixed spice
-3 eggs
- a few tablespoons of milk, if too thick.

You'll also need...

- A jar of good quality mincemeat (I'm sure you can make this yourself, but I really don't see the need)
- Small cupcake cases
- A small heart cookie cutter and a jagged edge circle cutter
- Small metal pie cases and/or a 12 hole pastry tin
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- Baking beads (for blind baking the pastry - if you don't have these then just use uncooked rice)

How to: Mince pie cakes 

A crumbly layer of pastry topped with mincemeat, with a fluffy spiced cake topping. The best of both worlds!
mince pie cakes recipe

*Preheat the oven to 180C.
* Grease 6-8 metal pastry cases with butter (if you're using a 12-hole tray then you'll probably make more because these will make smaller pies, so just grease all of them).
*Keep your pastry chilling in the fridge until you need it, then roll it out to about half a centimetre or a little less.
* Use the circle cookie cutter to stamp out the shapes in the pastry, then transfer those circles into the tray - bringing the pastry right up the sides.
* Spoon in enough mincemeat to cover half way up the pastry case, and repeat for the rest until they all have an even layer. 
*Bake for 10 minutes until the edges go brown then take out of the oven.
* Spoon enough of the spiced cake batter to fill up the remaining space in the tin, stopping just short of the brim, then quickly put them back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes, before the mixture starts to melt.
* When they are golden on top, take them out and leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar then eat!

How to: Heart shaped mince pies

I often find there's too much pastry in a mince pie, so by putting just a little heart on top, you let the filling do the talking.
Mince pies recipe blog

* Preheat the oven to 180C.
* Remove the chilling pastry from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface until it's around half a centimetre, or a little less. 
* Cut out as many circles as the pastry makes and place them into a greased tin (this usually has about 12 holes).  Keep around 1/3 of the pastry to make the heart shapes.
*You need to blind bake them so the bottoms don't go soggy, so use your baking beads or rice here (just make sure there's a layer of grease proof paper between them and the pastry or you'll bake the beads into the pies!). Leave them in the oven for 10 minutes until they have a slight colour to them.
* Take them out and fill them with mincemeat. Stop just under the top of the pastry because it bubbles up a bit and they can spill over.
* Cut out heart shapes in the pastry using a cutter, then place them in the centre of each pastry tin, on top of the mincemeat.
* Put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until golden.
* Leave to cool then sprinkle with icing sugar.

How to: Mini spiced mince cakes

Not keen on pastry? These cakes are light, fluffy and still have that Christmas flavour!
How to make mince pie cakes

*Preheat the oven to 180C.
* Place around 15 mini cupcake cases onto a tray.
* Take the spiced cake batter and add a teaspoon into the bottom of the cases, then put a blob of mincemeat on top of the batter layer. On top of that, spoon on more of the batter - just enough to cover the mince layer.
*Put them into the oven for around 12 minutes, until risen and golden.
Leave to cool and then sprinkle with icing sugar.

And there you go! Three easy ways with mince pies. Trust me, your family will thank you!

Mince pies recipe blog


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