Although a staple for Christmas snacking and parties the mince pie is a handy lunch box option. Packed with fruit and sugar it provides a quick boost. Or served hot with a dollop of clotted cream it is a quick and luscious treat after a bracing Autumnal walk.
Ingredients (makes 12)
225g plain flour
50g caster sugar
10ml almond essence*
1 medium egg
a dash of milk
* I use almond essence instead of water to give this sweet pastry an extra smooth taste.
Four key tips for good pastry – keep it cool; handle it as little as possible; be sparing with the fluid and practice often.
- Sieve the flour and sugar into a food processor.
- Add the cubed butter and blend to a bread crumb consistency.
- Add the beaten egg and almond essence and pulse blend until it forms a dough ball.
- Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface and form into a flat disc approximately 15cm round and 2cm deep.
- Wrap in cling film and chill in a fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove pastry from fridge, and leave wrapped for five minutes at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 190c (fan oven) and grease the pie tin with a little butter.
- Flour the working surface and rolling pin.
- Unwrap the pastry and roll to required thickness, around 3mm.
- Cut out 12 bottoms and tops (my pie tin uses two different sizes 7cm for the base and sides, 5cm for the tops)
- Line the pie tin with bases.
- Fill with a generous dollop of mincemeat.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with milk and add the lid, pressing down the edges with your finger tips.
- Once all 12 lids on are on brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Using the point of a sharp knife pierce the lids 3/4 times, to let the steam out during baking.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until lightly golden.
- Leave to stand in the pie tin for five minutes before turning out on to a wire cooling rack.
Serve hot with a dollop of clotted or double cream, crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt.
For something that looks a little different prepare open topped single person tarts (3-4 inches across) finish with a pastry lattice or just a small circle or star of pastry for the middle, sprinkle with icing sugar when cool for a lush looking dessert.