By Jasper Price, Second Year, Theatre.
The Croft Magazine // If you think mince pies are boring, think again! This chocolatey twist on a classic is fool-proof, and sure to be the centre piece of the Christmas table.
First, let’s talk about mincemeat. For the purpose of this recipe, I have included store-bought mincemeat. However, if you really want to push the boat out this year, you can attempt to make it from scratch. Mincemeat is essentially a mixture of dried fruit, fresh fruit, spices and alcohol. If you are going to make mincemeat yourself I suggest the following:
· 125g raisins
· 200g currents
· 50ml brandy
· Zest and juice of 1 large orange
· 125g dark brown sugar
· 1 tsp ground cinnamon
· 1 tsp ground nutmeg
· 1 Bramley apple, cut into small cubes (Bramley is ideal, however any apple would work)
· 150g Vegetarian suet
Mix everything together in a large bowl, place into sterilised jars and leave in a cool, dry place until use. I recommend making mincemeat at least a week before in order to allow the flavours to develop.
Now for the pies!
· 280g plain flour
· 125g icing sugar
· 50g good quality cocoa powder
· 1 tsp salt
· 200g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
· 3 eggs, 2 with yolks separated and one beaten
· 500g mincemeat (store-bought or made from scratch)
· 1 large orange
· 1 tsp marmalade
· Pinch of allspice
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a bowl. Add the cubes of butter and mix well, rubbing the butter between your fingertips until there are no more lumps. This may take a while, but it is worth it. Once fully incorporated, the mixture should resemble breadcrumbs and look ashy in colour.
- Next, mix in the egg yolks and a teaspoon of orange juice. Your mixture should form a smooth dough. If the mixture is too dry, add in a few teaspoons of water. Work the dough with your hands a little, making sure that it is smooth and even, then wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for half an hour. This will relax the dough, making it easier to roll.
- While the pastry is chilling, mix your mincemeat with the marmalade, allspice and the zest of an orange.
- When the pasty is chilled, it’s time to roll. I recommend halving the dough as it is easier to work with. Put the rest back in the fridge until needed. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough with a rolling pin or other cylindrical instrument (I used a roll of tin foil). You want the dough to be roughly the thickness of a pound coin. Next, cut out discs which are a little bigger than the size of your muffin tray holes, and line each mould with one. Make sure that the pastry comes all the way to the rim of the mould. Fill each hole with a couple of teaspoons of the mincemeat and brush the edges with egg.
- Cut out lids for your pies and place them gently on top, pinching the edges to make sure that no mixture can escape. If you have any pastry left, you can always cut out some decorations and stick them on top of the pie lids. Again, brush the top of your pies with egg and place in the oven.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes. Remember, the pastry should still feel soft once you take them out. They will harden as they cool. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle a snowfall of icing sugar on top of your pies and enjoy. Happy Christmas
Featured Image: Jasper Price : Epigram
Will you spice up your mince pies with this recipe?