When I think of Christmas I picture mince pies with mulled wine, stuffed birds and pigs in blanket, the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and the sight of children playing in the snow.
In our house we traditionally serve mince pies on Christmas eve. We have these with a glass of port in hand while wrapping the presents or watching a festive movie. They are always bought from the shops, which often leave me disappointed because of their sickly sweet taste.
This year I decided to make my mincemeat filling from scratch. I am amazed at how easy it is to prepare and you can alter any recipe to suit your taste. After researching online I opted for a no cook booze filled recipe from the BBC Good Food’s website (see here). I wasn’t keen on using beef suet and so changed this for vegetable suet, added dried cranberries instead of sultanas, removed the nuts and mixed peel from the recipe and added less sugar but more booze. I ended up with my perfect mincemeat filling.
Mince pies are traditionally made with all butter shortcrust or puff pastry, but this year I wanted to try something different. I bought ready-made filo pastry, added the filling and formed into little triangles. They are then baked in the oven for ten minutes. It couldn’t be simpler. For me this is the perfect mince pie – thin and crispy on the outside with a soft sweet mince pie filling inside, an ideal combination to enjoy just before or after a heavy Christmas meal with all its trimmings.
- Mincemeat filling – homemade or shop bought
- Filo pastry
- 1 egg yolk or melted butter
- icing sugar (optional)
- brandy cream (optional)
- Preheat the oven 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Cut the filo pastry into triangles. I like to layer three sheets on top of one another before cutting the triangles to ensure a crispy outer layer. Too thin and the mincemeat could make the pastry soggy.
- Brush the rectangle with melted butter. Then place the mincemeat filling into the right hand side of your rectangle, leaving a one inch space at the top. Fold diagonally to form a triangle and continue folding while retaining the shape.
- Brush the tops with egg yolk or melted butter to seal the pastry and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with brandy cream.