Proper British Mince Pies ™
- Plain Flour
- Lard or vegetable shortening
- 12 muffin muffin-tin
Procure mincemeat. THIS DOES NOT HAVE ACTUAL MEAT IN IT.
It usually comes in jars and if you can’t find it locally, you can make your own. Mary Berry, who is a veritable saint among food creators, has a good recipe.
NOTE: In Ye Olden Tymes, mincemeat DID actually have meat in it. In Tudor England, this was often mutton or perhaps beef. There’s a traditional recipe from 1591 here.
Make (or buy) pastry
You can use shortcrust or puff pastry. We use shortcrust because it’s easy to make, especially since I prefer things to be gluten-free:
- 8oz plain flour
- 2 oz butter
- 2 oz lard (or vegetable shortening)
- pinch of salt
- splash of cold water
Put the flour in to a bowl and chuck in the lard and butter, cut in to lumps. Take the knife and keep cutting the fat, so that it gets covered in the flour. Then rub it in gently with your fingertips, lifting it up out of the bowl and letting it fall back in, to get air in it. When you have a bowl full of crumbs, add a table spoon full of cold water and use the knife to mix again, to start it sticking together. Eventually, you’ll need to use your fingers again. Don’t make it too wet, but if you do, you can add a bit more flour.
Stick it in the fridge for half an hour and have a glass of wine whilst you grease the muffin tin and wait for the oven to heat up to 220c/gas mark 7.
Compile your pies
- Roll the pastry out on a floured surface. Use a pint glass to cut circles and put them in your muffin tin, pressing them down.
- Put a tea-spoon or two of mincemeat in each of the 12 little pies.
- Use a smaller glass to cut a smaller lid for your pies. Or a cookie-cutter in a star or similar. Or you can make lattice strips for the tops. Or stack a little a pile of almonds on the top of each one. Or a couple of slices of apple.
- Arrange your lids on top of your mincemeat. Glaze with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
- Cook for about 15/20 minutes.
DO NOT EAT IMMEDIATELY AS THE MINCEMEAT WILL BE THERMONUCLEAR IN TEMPERATURE AND BURN YOUR TONGUE.
We sometimes eat these with no topping, sometimes with cream and sometimes with custard. Custard is a whole different can of British Worms that I will address on another day.