Traditional British Recipes
Christmas Mince Pies
The humble mince pie (or Christmas-pie) has more than a passing association with Christmas. Its origins can be traced back to the 13th century, when Crusaders, returning from the Middle East, bought back eastern recipes, which often combined meat (such as mutton) with fruits and spices. Traditional 13th century ingredients would have been a mixture of shredded meat, suet, various dried fruits, and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. The meat portion of the mixture was removed during Victorian times.
Originally these small sweet pies were oval in shape, the pie representing the crib and the filling the good things bought by the wise men. Another tradition suggest that there were once 13 ingredients, representing Christ and his 12 Apostles.
- 350 grams (12 oz) shortcrust pastry
- 350 grams (12 oz) mincemeat
- 1-2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
- egg white or milk
- caster sugar
How to Make Mince Pies
- Roll out two thirds of the pastry onto a floured surface.
- Cut the pastry into about 20 plain 3 inch (7.5 cm) rounds, using a round pastry form cutter.
- Grease patty tin(s) and line with pastry rounds.
- Fill pasty with mincemeat (which can be mixed with brandy if required).
- Roll out remaining pastry and cut into 2.5 inch (6 cm) fluted rounds.
- Dampen the edges of pastry rounds and place as lids on the pies.
- Brush each pie with egg white (or milk) and make a small slit in the top of each.
- Bake in the oven at 400°F (200°C / Gas mark 6) for about 20 minutes until light brown.
- Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Serve cold, warm or hot. Can also be served with either pouring or whipped cream.