EASY MINCE PIES

These simple mince pies use marmalade in place of orange juice and sugar, to bring the cost down, and meld the fruits together with a spicy sweetness. I’m curious about making traditional ‘mincemeat’ – so expect to see a blog post on that later on! But for now, here’s a mince pie recipe so simple that you won’t even notice you’re making your own pastry…

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Ingredients: (made 6 generously sized ones, all depends how thin you roll your pastry and how big you want your mince pies!)

200g flour
100g butter (can be substituted for a mixture of half butter half lard, or any cooking ‘butter’ e.g. stork, margarine, etc)
5 tbsp cold water
2 tsp cinnamon
100g sultanas or mixed fruit with peel (or mix of both)
4 tbsp marmalade

First, make the filling – pop the fruit into a small saucepan with the marmalade, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and half-cover with water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer to stew away while you make the pastry.

To make the easy pastry, melt the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften, and give it a quick stir. Tip it into the flour and add the other teaspoon of cinnamon, and mix together with a wooden spoon to form a breadcrumb mixture. Add 4 tablespoons of cold water and mix in to make your dough; it should hold together but not be sticky. If its a little dry, add an extra tablespoon of water, if it’s sticky, pat a handful of flour around it.

Flour your work surface and work the dough out onto it, kneading lightly for a minute or two to bring it all together. Break it in half, and roll one half out to around 3mm thick. Using a round or scalloped edge pastry cutter, cut the base-and-edges piece of your mince pie. Pop into the bottom of a lightly greased bun tin, pressing in lightly with a finger to shape it. Add a heaped teaspoon of fruit and another of the sticky liquid, and top with a cut out star shape.

Repeat until all of the pastry is used up. (Optional, glaze the top with a beaten egg – I don’t bother as I dust mine with icing sugar afterwards.) Bake in the centre of the oven at 180C for around 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden.

Allow to cool before eating!

The gorgeous plate in this photograph was hand made and lent to me by a friend and local potter Richard Baxter, who is based in Leigh on Sea, Essex. You can see more of his work at http://www.richardbaxter.co.uk

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @msjackmonroe
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

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24 Comments »

  1. Hi Jack,
    I was wondering if people could send your little boy a book for Xmas? Could we send it via yr old boss at the local paper, as you mentioned someone else doing with a gift?
    From here in Australia, I could order it via The Book Depository, free mail.
    Or perhaps The Book Depository could send you a bundle of best sellers to review for them, and you get the books as a trade for the PR on your blog? Could you do this with clothes you like, or toys? Quite a few blogs review products, and get to keep a sample, and give away one sample to readers, in a draw. Perhaps you could get your son a nice Xmas bundle of books, toys and clothes this way. Or does the op shop have all you need? Why not work reviewing for some quality suppliers, products you’d want to promote, ie well made and ethically made.
    Anyway, I found your blog in January this year, and I’ve read it all year.
    Any anon address for a book to be sent to? Any you’d like your son to have? I wouldn’t want to double up with what you have.
    I thought a book would be nice, as it should last, plus give the gift of literacy plus a love of language and books. Anyway, over to you.
    But I want it to be for your boy, and not for a charity. As I’ve liked reading your blog.
    I’m sure lots of readers have saved the cost of a book over the past year, by reading your blog, and being reminded on being sensible with cash. Or people could all send to you one old kid’s book they have in their home, or find in a local op shop, if they can’t afford a new book. Then, when you’re done with them, you can recycle them to a parent in need, as I’m sure you would. Or donate the to a local school or library.
    So, what do other readers think? How many readers have an old kid’s book they don’t need? Can you send it to Jack’s son for Xmas? Or a new one from an online retailer who does free post?
    All the best for all the crazy pressures of Christmas.

  2. Sounds scrummy- may add a bit of caster sugar to the pastry though for sweetness! Your recipes have been great for ideas for a broke student.

  3. If you want to make mincemeat, Delia Smith’s recipe is brilliant (recipe is on her website). I keeps for ages and also makes a good Xmas present.

    I love mincemeat and apple crumble.

    All the best for the season and 2014.

    xx

  4. I made some mincemeat last night. Looks like there will be far too much for me so happy to send you a jar if you like? It’s made from the very best Tesco Value range has to offer – value mixed fruit bag, sugar, suet, lemon, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice. And then in a couple of days I’ll add a drop of brandy. Very easy to do and no cooking involved!
    Have a happy Christmas.

  5. I’ve read every single update of this blog since the days of “…Poverty is the sinking feeling when your small boy finishes his one Weetabix and says: ‘More, Mummy, bread and jam please, Mummy,’ as you’re wondering whether to take the TV or the guitar to the pawnshop first, and how to tell him that there is no bread or jam.”
    I’ve been, by turns, inspired (the recipes); despairing (the trolls); furious (the so-called ‘professional commentators’); and amused (you do write VERY well, Jack!)
    In return for all the enjoyment you have given me over the last few months I, like Ms Santa, would like to send your small boy a book – would that be acceptable? Where could I send it?
    Wishing you and your beautiful son everything you wish yourselves for 2014! =D

  6. In January of this year Sainsbury’s were selling jars of mincemeat reduced to 10p each. They were good till March 2014 so I stocked up for this Christmas’s mince pies 🙂 Worth keeping an eye out come January?

  7. I made some mincemeat on Thursday. Very nice. No suet so slightly healthier. It very easy to make and I got the recipe from National Trust Cookbook that I have.

  8. Hi Jack, Nice to see the pie on the plate…nice contrast. Please keep the pots as a gift. Any mentions you give me can only do me good, and it is the least I can do. Best Richard x

    Please visit my website http://www.richardbaxter.com

    My latest work can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/9597063@N02/

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Richard-Baxter-Pottery/116967128366339 Twitter http://twitter.com/rchbax My blog http://rchbax.blogspot.com/

    ======================================== Message Received: Dec 01 2013, 11:34 PM

  9. I make my own every year ., and have some from 3 years back and its ok still
    DRIED FRUIT I buy it when I see it cheap and when Ive got enough make the mincemeat. I tend to leave it just as apples are ready to pick of the trees. any apples including crab apples (not to many though)

    If your on freegle (ilovefreegle.org) as if anyone has any apples quinces. plums. they dont want and would like to share. .

    2lb of dried fruit.
    apples or an assortment of other fruits rind/ juice of two oringes or lemons

    packet of suet
    sugar
    mixed spices

    depending on the fruit youve manage to obtain, you can quickly cook it (5 10 mins) or if its just apples slice and mix with lemon juice. add some distilled alcohol. whiskey rum.vodka brandy. a good slosh

    Add dried fruit. Sugar spices and suet to taste.

    And stir . do this for 2 weeks then bottle

    If its a little dry add marmalade or cheap mincemeat to it to Lighten it ..Yummy

  10. I love the blog. It a regular part of my reading and it is the first time I have ever contributed to a blog! Mincemeat does not have to be expensive. My recipe is cheap and healthier than most, I think it is based on a WW2 recipe. 250g of peeled, cored, grated apples, 100g carrots peeled, trimmed and grated, 500g sultanas, 250g cut
    Rants, grated rind and juice of an orange, 100g suet(I use veggie), 100 g brown sugar, 60ml sherry, 1tsp of gound nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, allspice (if you haven’t bot all of those put equivalent of mixed spice but you must have cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt and mix really well. Makes 1.3kg. Bottle and wait 2 weeks. So this will be ready before Christmas!

  11. Dear Jack,

    If I made mini mince pies (i.e. about 4cm across – it’s the only muffin tray I have!) do you think I could get 12 out of this recipe?

    Thanks in advance! Merry Christmas!

  12. I put on a gig last night and made a load of these to hand out to the audience. People were coming up to me afterwards and hugging me saying I’d made their night!! I told them it was yr recipe, of course.. so hopefully you have a few more converts 🙂

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