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Leathams-7386

Serves 24:

The Mincemeat

  • 100g sultanas or dried cranberries
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 120g dried figs, tips trimmed then chopped to the size of the sultanas
  • 100g dates, chopped to the size of the sultanas
  • 100g prunes, chopped to the size of the sultanas
  • 100g suet, or vegetable suet, depending on your preference
  • 100g candied peel
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Grated zest and juice of 3 tangerines
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 1 large Bramley apple, unpeeled, grated
  • 5 tablespoons vinegar glaze

The Pastry

  • 350g plain flour
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 120g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons milk, for glazing the pies
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  • Chestnut Frangipane
  • 1, 200g pack of Merchant Gourmet whole cooked chestnuts
  • 60g icing sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting
  • 30g soft unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Ginger Crumble
  • 60g soft unsalted butter
  • 60g demerara sugar
  • 2 heaped teaspoons grated ginger
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g flour

Jewelled

  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 80g dried cranberries
  • 10 dried apricots, chopped to the same size as the cranberries
  • 80g pistachio nuts

Leathams-7363

The Mince Pies

  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and brown sugar into your food processor. Add the butter and pulse just enough for the mixture to become grainy, it’ll look a bit like giant couscous. Add the egg yolk, vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of water. Pulse until the pastry is just barely combined. Tip it onto your work surface then knead briefly until the pastry is smooth.
  2. Next, cut the pastry in half. Put each half onto a large piece of floured cling film. Pat to flatten into 15cm squares, wrap and then refrigerate for 30 minutes; just enough to make the pastry firm rather than hard.
  3. Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas 6. Dust one of the pieces of pastry with flour then roll out to a 40x 20cm rectangle between two layers of floured clingfilm. Lift off the top layer of clingfilm. Cut out 24 circles with the 6cm pastry cutter, lift off the trimmings then squash them onto the top of the second piece of pastry. These are your tops; if your kitchen is very hot; pop them in the fridge, still sitting on the floured clingfilm. (I do the tops first so I have the maximum amount of pastry for the bottoms. Also so that the tops are the prettiest as the pastry doesn’t have any trimmings mixed in, also so that the pastry doesn’t sit and warm up, or get too cold in the fridge while you make the bottoms and line the tins) Roll this out in the same way as the first to a rectangle of 45x20cm. Cut out the 7.5cm circles then gently push them into the bottoms of the bun tins. Brush the edges of each lightly with milk, then spoon a level tablespoon of mincemeat into each pie. Press one of the smaller circles on top of each and pinch the edges to seal them well.
  4. Brush with milk, sprinkle with Demerara sugar, snip the centres with scissors. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Variations / Each Recipe is for 24 pies:

Star Topped 
Proceed exactly as for the main recipe but cut out stars instead of circles from the first half of the pastry. Fill each pie with a tablespoon of mincemeat then pop a star on top. Brush with milk and then sprinkle with Demerara sugar.

Pastry bottoms only:
For the following recipes, make two thirds of the quantity of pastry only. Roll out the pastry and line the pies as before then fill each pie with 1 tablespoon of mincemeat. Bake the topless pies for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden around the sides.

Chestnut Frangipane
Remove 12 whole chestnuts, cut in half and set aside. Blend the remaining chestnuts with the sugar for 1 minute, add the butter and yolk then blend until combined. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pie, top with 1 teaspoon frangipane, push a half chestnut into the centre, dust with icing sugar then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Ginger Crumble
Mix all of the ingredients together. Spoon a level tablespoon of mincemeat into each pie, then a smooth a teaspoon of the crumble mixture over the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Jewelled
Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together. Add the other ingredients and toss gently until they are glazed. Spoon the jewels over the top of the cooked mince pies.

Pomegranate

Break the pomegranate open and separate the seeds from their white chambers over a bowl. Use the prettiest seeds to top your mince pies then eat the rest with their juice and some yoghurt for breakfast!

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