The best thing about Christmas by a long, long way is the Mince Pie. Those deceivingly humble little gems are possibly the best cakey treat in existence! It’s probably because they only come around once a year that I love them so but I could quite happily buy a box of Mr Kipling and scoff the lot of those bad boys in one go with a big mug of Coffee.
As I love them so much I decided include them in my list of Christmas Treats to bake for people. I wanted to have a trial run first as I have not baked any in years. After all if Mr Kipling can do such a good job why bother doing it yourself! It was my first time making pastry from scratch in some time and for the life of me I couldn’t remember quantities, so I did have to follow a recipe for that. And I did cheat by using a Jar of ready made Mincemeat but I think it still counts as home made.
When I bake them to give away I will get some nice little presentation boxes like these. I bought all the ingredients o bake them but I still don’t have a tray for making individual Mince Pies, or Jam Tart’s (mmmm jam tarts!) so I decided to throw caution to the wind and make a Mince Pie Tart, the daddy of Mince Pies! This tasted a really good, if I had any in it would have been nice with a dollop of Thick Double cream or even Cream Fraiche.
Mince Pie Tart
Preperation time 1 hour
Cooking time 15 – 20 minutes
140g Butter, have it at room temperature so its easier to work with
220g Plain Flour
50g Caster Sugar
2tsp Vanilla Essence
2-3tsp Cold Water
Pinch of Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 jar of Mincemeat aprox 300g.
A 8 inch Tart or Cake tin, approx 1 inch deep.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. In a large mixing bowl add the Flour, Sugar, Butter, Lemon Zest, Vanilla Essence and salt. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. This may take a while to do and it is easier if you butter was already at room temperature.
Whisk the egg and 1tsp of water together then add to the dry ingredients. Combine into a smooth dough with a spatula. If it feels too dry then add another 1-2 tsp of cold water. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Pop it in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes.
Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll out to about 1/5cm. Line the bottom of the tin with some baking parchment or grease proof paper. Transfer the Pastry the tin and cut away any which hang over so you have neat edges. With the remaining pastry make a nice Christmasy shape to go on top. I made a Star shape but you could make a Christmas Tree or a Snow man, what ever come to mind. As it’s a tart you don’t want to cover the top completely.
Bake in the over for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Dust with a little Icing Sugar.
Enjoy with some cream and a cup of Coffee.
- Mince Pie Cupcakes with Brandy Buttercream (cheetahsinmyshoes.wordpress.com)
- Home-made mince pie recipe (telegraph.co.uk)
- Christmas recipes: Nigella Lawson on desserts and baking (guardian.co.uk)