Festive Mince Pies

Thursday 21 December 2017

I have really been enjoying these past few days without a car.  Its has really clipped our wings and helped us to slow down a lot and really get tucked into what is really important about the Holidays.  Home and family, the people you love and care about . . .  good food . . . the Christ Child.  Taking all the rush and hubbub out of these days has really helped us to feel a lot more festive.  Today I really got into the mood and baked Todd some mince pies.  He adores Mince Pies.  You probably remember me making my mincemeat earlier this month.  This is what I used. This was a test run for the ones I will bake on Christmas Eve.  Do you do test runs for the holidays??  I think everyone does.

I was keen to try a new pastry recipe which I had found in this Marks & Spencer Christmas cookbook. It looked really nice and, as you know, I am always keen to try something new! 

It is a really simple recipe which involves rubbing butter into flour and stirring in some icing sugar, an egg yolk and a bit of milk.  I did add a pinch of salt.  It rolled out like a dream and I had those tins lined and ready to fill in a nano-second.  Well, maybe a bit longer, but you get the gist . . .   

One thing I have learnt through the years is not to be overly generous with the mincemeat when making my mince pies . . .  not unless I want mince pies that won't loosen from the tin.  This is definitely an occasion when less is more.  I couldn't find my star cutter this morning and so I used a small snowflake cutter instead. (I will add just a touch more mincemeat when I bake my final batch. This lot of mince meat I made doesn't spread like the store brands do. Its lovely.)

The original recipe said to roll the pastry out to 1/2 inch thickness which I think was a huge mistake. I rolled it out to 1/4 inch thickness and they were just right.  Any thicker than that and it would have been far too thick.

I have to say this pastry is beautiful.  Easy to work with.  Nice and flaky! 

You would think that having icing sugar in it would make it sweet, but it doesn't at all.  Its just right.

There is nothing like putting Christmas Music on to play and then doing some Christmas baking to put one in the mood for the Holy Holidays!

Todd went to pick the car up from being fixed while I was baking these and inhaled two of them as soon as he got in the door.  They got Two Thumbs Up from him!  That's a really high accolade, as he is a real connoisseur of mince pies!!!

*Festive Mince Pies*
Makes 16
Delicious little pastries to enjoy on Christmas Eve, or after Christmas lunch.  Heck all through the festive season! 

100g butter (7 TBS) cut into bits
210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
25g icing sugar (3 TBS)
1 large free range egg yolk
2 to 3 TBS milk plus extra for glazing
300g mincemeat (10 1/2 ounces)
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 16 hole tartlet tin and set aside.

Sift the flour into a bowl. Drop in the cold butter and rub it into the flour using your finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the icing sugar and the egg holk.  Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough.  Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until you have a smooth dough. 

Shape into a ball and then roll our 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into rounds using fluted cutters.  Place into the buttered tin. Half fill each with some mincemeat.  Cut out 16 star shapes from the remaining dough and place on top.  Brush lightly with milk.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Oh boy but these were some good.  I will be baking another batch or two before Christmas and most especially on Christmas Eve!  You can never have too many mince pies! 

I am like my mom who never let anything go to waste. 

The leftover cuttings of the pastry got balled back together and re-rolled.  Mom used to do this.  She would roll it out thin and spread it with butter and a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.  

It would then be rolled up tightly and cut into slices and baked.  The end result was delicious flaky cinnamon roll type of pastry bites that my father called Des Pets de Soeur, or loosely translated into English . . . wait for it . . . Nun's Farts.

Now what child would not be thrilled with a plate of these!  We loved them!  So did my dad.  Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!


  1. These look lovely and I agree with you about thinner pastry and be sparing with the filling. I generally make your Open Mince Pies and that pastry also has icing sugar in it and rolls out really well. I have sadly used all of my mincemeat this year, but will bookmark this for next Christmas.

    1. Oh darn Marie! I made a ton of mincemeat this year so am keen to use it up. The open mince pies are also really, really good! Face it, I just love mince pies!

  2. I have always loved the look of the star minced pies..and I may try the dough today for a quiche:) Maybe..I love trying so many different things all the time..20 pie doughs..20 apple pies..I know someone else like that ..would you happen to know her also:)?

    They look great!

    And your pets de soeur..uncanny!

    1. Very uncanny, I had to laugh when I saw your post. We were both so in line with each other! Oh yes, I like to try different things all the time too. I have my favourite tried and trues, but you never know when you might discover something even better! It is only 2 pm and already getting dark. I hate these short winter days, but good news, they will start getting longer as from today! Yay! xoxo

  3. I'm making this today, I just love the thought of that pastry!! I've never saw this recipe before,, I do the same thing with my scraps as my mum did too lol, its so funny, your cookbook has all our favorites, its like it was written just for our family I love that, lots of new to us recipes as well,, Merry Christmas to you and todd, best wishes from Canada!!

    1. Merry Christmas to you and Gary Laurie! I hope it is the best one ever. It makes me happy that you like my cookbook! It truly does! xo


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