Either buy good quality fruit mince from the store or try your hand at making it yourself:
175g shredded suet (beef or vegetarian)
250g soft, dark brown sugar
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp mixed spice
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 apple, cored and finely chopped, no need to peel
4 tbsp brandy
Makes 3 jars of Mincemeat
In a large roomy baking bowl combine all the ingredients except the brandy. Stir really well making sure all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight.
Next day, heat the oven to 110°C/¼ gas. Remove the tea towel and cover the bowl with foil and place in the warmed oven for 2½ hours. The suet will have melted but don't worry, this is how it should be as the fat is what will help to preserve the mincemeat. Stir well and leave to one side to cool, stirring from time to time.
Once cool stir the mincemeat again, add the brandy and stir again.
Fill sterilised jars with the cold mincemeat, cover with a wax disc and a lid. The mincemeat will keep up to one year in a cool, dark place
Same deal, store bought short crust pastry is quicker but home made tastes better!!
For the shortcrust pastry
200g soft flour
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of water
1. Make sure your butter's at room temperature to make it easier to work with.
2. Sieve the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour.
3. Using your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour, lifting the mixture up and dropping it back into the bowl - you want to keep the mixture light and airy. Keep going until all the fat is mixed with the flour and has reached a texture that resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Sprinkle a little cold water into the bowl and mix through with a knife. Use your fingers to bring the pastry together: it's ready when and the sides of the bowl are clean and it's formed a solid ball. You shouldn't need to add much more than a tablespoon of water so be careful not to overdo it.
5.Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the pastry to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
For the mince pies:
1. Lightly grease muffin tins
2. Flour your work surface and roll out the pastry as thinly as possible. Cut out approximately 12 rounds with a pastry cutter (most pastry cutters have two sides, one with a greater diameter than the other, use the larger side for the base) and place them in the base of your muffin pans (I usually form a 'cup' shape)
3. Prick all the pie bases with a fork to stop them rising. Fill each case with about 3 teaspoons of the mincemeat mix - don't overfill your cases or the mixture will leak through the pastry when cooking.
4. Brush the pie edges with a little milk. Stamp out another 12 'shapes' or rounds (I like using stars) for the lids and place over the mincemeat mix.
5. Pinch the pie edges together to seal. Brush over with egg wash and pierce the tops with a fork. Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes at 190 degrees until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 1 minute before placing on a wire rack to cool.
9. Serve warm with a light sifting of icing sugar on top.
Tip: You can keep the pies for 2 - 3 days in an airtight container and re-heat them when needed.
A HUGE thank you to Amy Wilson from Durban, for this lovely recipe! I can't wait to try it out!
Take care everyone!