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Mince Pies

This recipe is in categories Baking, Party food,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 3
Preparation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 24
Serving suggestions: Serve with cream or custard

Mincemeat was originally a mixture of meat, dried fruit and spices. It was baked in a large rectangular pie in Medieval and Tudor times, which represented Christ's bed (manger). Over the years, less meat was used until by Georgian times, the mincemeat contained no meat at all - resembling our modern mincemeat. However, meat was still used in some households as late as mid-Victorian times.

Mincemeat still, traditionally, contains beef suet but many people prefer to use vegetarian suet these days. At Christmas time, it is traditionally used in mince pies.  Mince pies normally have a pastry top, but a wide variety of pies and tarts are can now made or purchased. This recipe uses a traditional pastry cases and tops.
 

Ingredients

Making and cooking it
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together using an electric whisk
  2. Cut the vanilla pods in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add to the butter mixture and mix
  3. Gradually add the beaten egg
  4. Sift in the flour 
  5. Using your hands, combine the pastry into a ball and knead it for a minute
  6. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes
  7. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°f/Gas Mark 6/
  8. Grease two 12-hole bun tins
  9. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface and roll out the pastry to 4mm thick
  10. Using a large cutter, cut out 24 rounds (big enough to cover the bottom and sides of a bun tin hole) and put 1 into each hole of the bun tins
  11. Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case
  12. Dip your finger into a small glass of water and run it around the top of each pastry case - this will help the lids to stick
  13. Using a smaller cutter, cut out 24 pastry lids, big enough to cover the top of the bun tin hole (you may have to collect up the leftover pastry and form it into a ball and roll it out again) 
  14. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal
  15. Brush the tops of the pies with some milk
  16. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack
  17. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar