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