Only in recent years have I started to enjoy mince pies. A pastry case overfilled with boozy fruit never really cut it for me, that is until I started to sample a few homemade varieties. My mother in law is quite the expert at making pastry so a couple of Christmas ago we made a deal, that she would make the pastry and I would make a suitable mincemeat filling for mince pies, to serve at a family get together. These turned out splendidly and each Christmas since I've made these to accompany some festive mulled wine. The quality of the pastry must be good but most importantly the quality of the mincemeat is crucial. I love anything a little zesty, so with added orange zest and some Grand Marnier or Cointreau, these little treats are rather pungent with orange flavours. I greatly welcome nuts, of any variety, in a pie or tart so a few pecan nuts are in the mincemeat, but these can be replaced with walnuts if you prefer. The uncooked mince pies will freeze very well. Open-freeze the uncooked mince pies in their trays, then knock each one out and store in freezer bags. To cook, replace the desired amount of pies in a bun tin. When cooking from frozen, allow an extra 10 minutes cooking time.
For all the non mince pie eaters I'd urge you to give these a try, as you may be surprised by how much you actually like them!
300g (12oz) sultanas
- Soak the raisins and sultanas in the orange juice and Grand Marnier or Cointreau for a couple of hours or so until the liquid is all soaked up. I normally leave overnight for maximum soakage.
- Add in all the remaining ingredients and combine well. Spoon into sterilised jars, seal tightly, then store in the fridge until ready to use. The mincemeat will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.
pinch of salt
- Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in ground almonds, orange rind, caster sugar and a pinch of salt.
- Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg and mix into the flour with a knife, then gather into a ball using your hands.
- Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/gas6.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and line a bun-case. Spoon in the mincemeat. Top each with a pastry disc.
- Brush with a little beaten egg or milk and bake for 15-20 mins.