how to make pastry for mince pies
How to make pastry for mince pies
17 October 2021

Getting the perfect buttery pastry for mince pies that can be a challenge. The pastry needs to be strong enough to hold a lot of mincemeat while warm and still be thin and crisp. Then there is the flavour. Using a lot of butter will leave you with a great taste but will also leave the pastry crumbly and easy for the filling to break out. Working with pastry that has a high fat content can also be challenging.

The below is the best recipes and tips I have to make sure you get perfect mince pies every time that hold well, taste great and are easy to work with.

How to make pastry for mince pies – The recipes

Recipe 1 – Buttery and sweet pastry

This pastry is as ‘short’ (contains as much butter) as I would personally go when making pastry for mince pies. It is harder to work with and isn’t as strong but has an amazing flavour

250g Soft butter

200g Icing sugar

2 Eggs (room temperature)

500g Plain flour

4g Salt

Beat the butter and sugar together until well mixed (Don’t beat them hard since you don’t want too much air in the mix)

Beat the eggs with a fork and add them slowly into the beating butter and sugar until incorporated.

Once all the egg has been added, add the flour and salt and work the mix to a paste.

Shape into a square and clingfilm tightly. Rest in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before rolling out.

Recipe 2 – Flaky and strong pastry

This recipe is a bit firmer and easier to work with, great for when you have lots of filling or want to the pastry to be thinner without breaking. This pastry is also a lot less sweet than the one above, making It perfect for very sweet fillings.

500g Plain flour

5g Salt

20g Caster sugar

300g Cold butter (unsalted and cut into cubes)

40g Egg yolks (about 2 yolks)

80ml Cold water

Put the dry ingredients and butter into a mixer with the paddle attachment (or use your fingertips) and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the wet ingredients and mix until you have a smooth dough.

Shape the pastry into a block and clingfilm tightly. Rest in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours before you use it.

Lining the shells

When lining the mince pie shells the most important thing is to get the pastry rolled nice and thin. The biggest problem people run into while doing this is the pastry sticking to the table. This is usually ‘over fixed’ by drenching the side in flour.

That is a bad idea since you are just incorporating more flour into the mix and messing up the recipe.

The best thing to do is use two sheets of parchment and a little bit of flour. Once you start rolling out the pastry on the first sheet and it sticks, just dust with a little flour and place the second one on top. Flip it over and peel off the first sheet ready so the stuck side is now facing up without breaking the pastry. This can just be repeated as many times as needed.

When cutting, make sure that you leave a bit of a lip to stick the top to and allow for a little shrinkage.

You don’t need to blind bake mince pies, they can be cooked with filling in straight from raw.

Mincemeat Filling Recipe

This mincemeat recipe comes from London’s top five star hotels and I have used it every year since 2010. The addition of the apples gives it a great apple pie style texture and as long as you are using good quality ingredients it will never let you down.

Ingredients

90g diced or grated green apple

45g beef or vegetarian suet

70g Raisins

45g Sultanas

45g Currants

45g Mixed peel

50g Dark brown sugar

½ tsp mixed spice

1 tbsp brandy

½ Orange zest and juice

½ Lemon zest and juice

Method

Mix together all of the ingredients well at least one week before you need it and keep in a sterilized jar or sealed bag and turn over every few days.

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