I’ve spent most November/December weekends whipping up a batch of mince pies. Batch#1 were a Jamie Oliver recipe but I have to say these lacked so many things I wanted from a mince pie. Batch#2 were packed with more filling and sweetness and despite lasting less than 2 hours with family and friends there was still a bit of indulgence missing.
Now at batch#3 I think I’ve finally cracked the perfect mince pie, at least for this year.
Try not to snub the recipe for using bought filo and puff pastries – making these is nightmare unless you’re a pretty confident pastry chef – which I’m not – so they are a big help. Also don’t skimp on the quality of mince meat / booze that goes in. With his being a bit of an assembly, good quality ingredients are key.
- 1 pack of filo pastry
- 1 pack of puff pastry
- 400g jar of good quality matured mince meat
- Zest of a clementine
- Chopped dried cranberries
- Plug of sherry
- Icing sugar (for dusting or drizzling)
- Chop the dried crandberrys and add to the mince meat along with the cranberries, sherry and clementine zest. Mix through until combined.
- Roll out puff pastry to around 40cm by 20cm on a floured surface. This isn’t far from the size of most puff pastry rolls you buy; you’re aiming for about the thickness of a pound coin.
- Add the mince meat mix to the puff pasty and spread out. Don’t mess about with a thin layer - make sure you can’t see any pastry apart from a 1cm border round the edge.
- With the long edge facing you, roll up like a swiss roll. Place in cling film and refrigerate to firm up.
- Set your oven to 200 degrees and brush a muffin tray with melted butter.
- Get your filo pastry sheets and cut into quarters. Place each quarter into the buttered muffin moulds, pushing into place with either your hands or a spoon. I ended up using a flour measuring cup - perfect size. Don’t worry if they tear when putting into place - they most likely will!
- Brush the filo with another layer of butter then dust with icing sugar. Add another layer of filo to each muffin moulds, brush with butter and sprinkle with ice sugar again.
- By this time the oven should be up to temperature so get the rolled pastry from the fridge and cut into 12 pieces and wedge into each filo pastry cup.
- At this point you probably won’t be able to see any part of the muffin tray, just a lot of pastry! Brush the entire thing with egg wash, sprinkle over almonds and give them a final dusting of icing sugar.
- Place in an oven on 180 for about 25 minutes. You want a nice golden colour. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick the puff pastry rolls are so you may need to experiment a bit here but as long as they’re in for at least 20-25 minutes you’ll be fine.
- Bring out of the oven and leave to cool in the muffin tray.
- Make up a quick icing with icing sugar and your choice of booze - i opted for cointreux, but grand mariner, sherry or brandy would work equally well.
- When the mince pies are cool give them a gentle dusting of icing sugar then drizzle over the icing.
- They snap out of the muffin tray in whatever shape they want - these aren’t suppose to look uniform.