There’s something particularly festive about making mince pies at Christmas. For me, it’s one of the best ways of getting myself into the Christmas spirit.
I wanted to share my favourite recipes for mince pies with you – both for traditional pies and also for my gluten free version. Both are delicious.
As we’re talking about pastry today, I wanted to remind you of some of my top tips for making the best pies.
- Ensure your butter is really well chilled. Use it straight out of the fridge, cut into cubes
- Sift your flour before using it to ensure there are no lumps in your pastry
- Your water must be ice cold. It’s never a bad idea to keep some in the fridge if you know you’ll be making pastry
- If you’re adding a full lid to your pie, egg wash around the edge of the base before putting your top on, or else, they’ll pop off as they bake
- Always egg wash the lids of your pies. If you’re just adding a shape on top of the pie, egg wash that, too.
- A food processor is great for making pastry. If you don’t have one, just rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips and quickly add the egg and water to combine – don’t overwork the pastry or else it’ll be tough.
- Too much water will also make the pastry tough – keep it as dry as you possibly can – which will result in light, short pastry.
- Don’t roll your pastry too thickly – 3-4mm thick will be fine.
- And crucially, do use the best ingredients you can get. Please don’t even think of using anything other than butter, unless you have a dairy intolerance.
110g butter, cubed
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons cold water
Place the flour and butter into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles fine sand. Add the egg yolk and salt, and2 tablespoons of water. Blitz again until it forms a stiff, firm mixture. Add the remaining water as needed – remember that too much water will make the pastry too sticky.
Cover the pastry with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes or better still 30 minutes.
Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry
275g plain flour (I use Doves Farm blend)
150g chilled butter
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Bring the mixture together into a ball. Flatten and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Mince pies two ways
Both recipes make around 12 pies. You’ll need a 12 hole shallow bun tin and a couple of appropriately sized cutters.
You’ll also need one beaten egg as your egg wash.
Once the pastry (whichever recipe you choose to make) is made and chilled, preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ Gas Mark 3
Roll out the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper. It needs to be about 3-4 mm thick, no more. It will puff up during the cooking process. The gluten free pastry will be more sticky to work with, Don’t worry, this is normal.
Cut out discs to form the base of your pies and carefully put into the tins. Add a teaspoon of mincemeat to each pastry base. Either brush the rim of the pastry base with beaten egg and add a disc to firm a lid, or alternatively place a cut out shape on top of the mincemeat. Egg wash your top or pastry shape and bake for around 18-22 minutes until the pastry is lightly browned and firm.
Remove to cool on a wire tray, although they are delicious eaten warm.