November 30th, 2012

Amazing Mince Pies.

I’ve grown into Mince Pies. They weren’t my favourite thing when I was little but now I cannot get enough of the crumbly pastry and the spicy fruit filling.

This is an awesome recipe from the equally awesome Joy Of Baking - if you can’t deal with making your own pastry then please remove all baking guilt and buy it. My favourite brand is Careme  Traditional Pastry from the Barossa Valley – it’s better than mine will ever be.

This recipe is complex not complicated – it’s just about taking it a step at a time and following it to the letter.

Lovely present for neighbours.

PJxx

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry).

Ingredients.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30-60 ml) ice water

Method.

1. In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.

2. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).

3. Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched.  If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

4. Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the pastry in half, flatten each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

The Mince.

Ingredients.

2 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled and grated
1 1/2 cups can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup dried apples, chopped
3/4 cup dark raisins
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup  dried currants
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup mixed candied peel
1/3 cup candied lemon peel
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup brandy or cognac
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Method.

1. Place all the ingredients in a large ceramic saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mincemeat, stirring often, for about 25-30 minutes, or until the liquid is almost evaporated.

3. Transfer the fruit mince to a large bowl and let it cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator, at least overnight, or up to a month.

Note: If storing longer than a week, stir in a little rum or brandy (about 1/4 cup) every week.

Assembling The Pies.

1. Have ready 24 mini muffin tins. After the dough has chilled sufficiently, take one of the disks of pastry and place on a lightly floured surface.

2. Roll out the pastry dough until about 3mm thick and cut into 24 rounds that are slightly bigger than the muffin tins. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the centre of the pastry outwards).)

3. Gently place the rounds into the muffin tins. Place about a teaspoon of fruit mince into each tin and set aside while you make the pastry stars.

4. Roll out the second disk of pastry and cut out 24 stars or Christmas trees and gently place them on top of the mince.

5. If desired, brush the tops of the stars with a little egg wash (one large egg whisked together with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

6. Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned.

7. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

8. Dust with confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. These tarts freeze very well.

 

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