There are a few Christmas traditions from my own childhood that I’m eager to continue with my own children. One of these is baking mince pies. I can recall standing in the kitchen throughout the run-up to Christmas making batches of mince pies. At times it seemed that we would never make enough as they seemed to disappear as soon as they came out of the oven.
Christmas Traditions // Mince Pies
Each year I’d receive a little more responsibility when it came to preparing the pastry, lining the tin, and adding the mincemeat filling. The design of them never altered across the years with a simple shortcrust pastry lid, marked with two small slits to let out the steam.
These mince pies were given to friends and neighbours as they called round to wish us well during the festive season. Carefully placed on the fireplace each Christmas Eve ready for Santa’s visit. So you can understand why this is a tradition that I’ve continued with my own children. We still use her mince pie recipe, although we have changed things slightly in that we add different shapes on top of our mince pies instead of a pastry lid. They’re not quite as polished as my mum’s creations but they still taste delicious.
Mince Pie Recipe
- 225g/8oz Plain Flour
- 50g/2oz Margarine
- 50g/2oz Lard
- Pinch of salt
- 4 Tablespoons cold water
- 225g/8oz Mincemeat
You can use ready to roll shortcrust pastry if you have time constraints or are making these with younger children.
- Light oven to Gas Mark 7 / 220C
- Sieve flour and salt
- Rub in the fat until mixture resembles breadcrumbs
- Use a round-bladed knife to mix in the water, adding more if necessary to form a firm dough
- Knead on a lightly floured board
- Leave to rest in a cool place if possible
- Roll the pastry out into a large square and cut an equal amount of large circles (for the bases) and slightly smaller circles or fun shapes (for the tops/lids)
- Place the larger circles in the bun tray and add a teaspoonful of mincemeat
- Moisten the edges of the circles with water and add the top, sealing the edges if using smaller circles
- Brush the tops with a beaten egg or milk
- Make a slit in the top of each to release steam
- Bake for 15 minutes until pastry is golden brown
- Remove from tins to cool on a wire rack before serving