Mince Pies – November Dusk and Apples
by eat in my kitchen
Finally it’s getting really cold and crisp outside. And when I see the apples in front of me in this special November afternoon light I feel like making my mince pies. When I lived in Whitby in England I bought tons of them at Botham’s, now I make my own.
Mince pies are a wonderful combination of buttery short crust – which I love in all variations – and a juicy filling. Mine is a sour-fruity apple filling spiced up with cinnamon, cardamon, mace, allspice, cloves and brandy. I just love them for breakfast, tea time or dessert, I can eat them all the time – especially at Christmas time!
Some buy the filling in stores, I like to make my own. It is a bit of work but if you make it in bigger quantities it is worth it.
The filling for these pies is called mincemeat but don’t worry there is no meat involved. It used to be made with meat and some recipes still include beef suet but mine doesn’t. The ingredients below are measured to make a few batches of mince pies. If you never tried mince pies before maybe you should start with 1/3 of the filling. If you are a mince pie maniac like me go for the whole amount and keep it in jars in the fridge.
sour baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped, 1kg / 2 pounds
raisins 350g / 12.5 ounces
currants 100g / 3.5 ounces
candied peel, finely chopped, 40g / 1 ounce
orange, rind, 1
lemon, rind and juice, 1
sugar 200g / 7 ounces
vegetable shortening 200g / 7 ounces
cinnamon, ground, 1 heaping teaspoon
cardamom, ground, 1 heaping teaspoon
cloves, ground, 1 heaping teaspoon
mace, ground, 1 teaspoon
mixed spice, ground 1 heaping teaspoon
Warm up a large pan with all the ingredients (except the vegetable shortening) and mix with a spoon until the sugar dissolved. Let simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes and stir once in a while. Take it off when it looks pulpy and stir in the vegetable shortening. Fill into sterilised jars and keep in the fridge.
Enough for 24 muffin sized mince pies (they won’t be as high as muffins)
plain flour 300g / 10.5 ounces
vegetable shortening 75g / 2.5 ounces
butter 75g / 2.5 ounces
sugar 1 heaping tablespoon
mixed spice, 2 teaspoons
juice of an orange 5 tablespoons
pinch of salt
Mix the dry ingredients, cut the fats finely with a knife into the flour mixture and rub between your fingers for a few seconds. Add the orange juice and mix with the dough hook of your mixer until it crumbles. Shape two discs, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer for 10 minutes (or in the fridge).
Set the oven to 220°C / 430°F and butter the muffin tray.
Roll out the pastry between cling film until it is quite thin. Cut out circles a bit bigger than the muffin mold circles and place into the molds. Cut out circles a bit smaller than the molds for the pie’s lid. Fill the pies with your mincemeat and put the circled lid on top. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Take the mince pies out carefully and let them cool on a rack. Let the muffin tray cool for a few minutes before you continue with the second batch. You can dust the mince pies with icing sugar if you like when the pies have cooled down.