To make your own sweet shortcrust pastry for the pies, follow the recipe here. I like the pastry cases to be buttery, crumbly, and rich.
You can make your own mincemeat in advance, or you can buy it ready made. If, like me this year, you buy it ready made you might want to tweak it to suit your personal preference – I added some extra orange peel and grated fruit, or you might want to spice it up further with some cinnamon or ginger, whatever you think it needs (if anything).
My friend told me her mum, Carol, always adds a blob of cream cheese with in to each pie which I’ve since tried and think it tastes delicious so I’ve added it in this year (thank you Carol!), but you can omit this for a more traditional version. Creamy mascarpone would also be incredible. Carol also recommends whisking in a little icing sugar with your cream cheese for a sweeter version, although I personally didn’t need this.
Makes 12 mince pies
Preheat your oven to 200°C.
If you’re making your own shortcrust pastry for the pies, follow the recipe here.
Lightly butter a 12-hole non-stick mince pie or tartlet tin.
Combine the mincemeat with the grated apple and orange zest (if using), along with any additional spices you may want to add.
Sprinkle your worktop with flour, and thinly roll out your shortcrust pastry to around 3mm. Cut out 12 bases and 12 tops. (You may need to re-form the scraps into a ball and roll the pastry out again.) You can use star cutters for the tops, serrated edges, or just plain circles, whatever you like.
Place the bases gently in the tin. Fill each with roughly one generous teaspoon of mincemeat, followed by half a teaspoon of cream cheese (if using). The filling will expand a little in the oven, so don’t be tempted to over-stuff them. Place the lids on top, making sure they are firmly fixed into position. Glaze the tops with egg-wash or milk for shine.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking halfway through to make sure the tops are not browning too quickly. When the tops are golden and the pastry is cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for five minutes or so, before transferring to a wire rack.
Sprinkle a little icing sugar on them just before serving and eat warm, maybe with some double cream.