So I went Christmassy again. The closer we’re getting to Christmas, the more excited I get. Actually, I start looking forward to Christmas the day after Christmas, that’s how bad it is. While I was getting my daily Christmas-fix (scrolling through pictures of christmas trees and candy canes on Tumblr)I suddenly felt the urge to make mince pies. Now this is not exactly a Dutch tradition as you might have guessed. I hadn’t even tasted these until last year! When I visited my friend in the Hague a couple of weeks back, I found some vegetarian mincemeat at the expat store and so my saturday was filled with the most delicious smell of orange peel and crunchy crust. I think we should introduce mince pies to Dutch Christmas tradition. Oh, I made these in a muffin tin, and used a fluted cutter. The fluted cutter does not yield the prettiest results so I suggest you use a “regular” round cutter for a smoother finish. For your dose of Christmas in October, see the recipe below!
Mince Pie Recipe
225 gr plain flour
pinch of salt
50gr ground almonds
85gr icing sugar or caster sugar (icing sugar for a finer, crisp texture; caster for a crumblier texture)
175gr unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 medium free-range egg yolk
400gr best (vegetarian) mincemeat
1 tbsp brandy, rum or amaretto
icing sugar or caster sugar for sprinkling
Plain or fluted cutter; 8-9cm
Star, holly or small round shaped cutter
Mince pie/bun/muffin tin
1. To make the almond pastry, put the flour, salt, ground almonds and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine the ingredients, then add the diced butter and process just until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add the egg yolk and process briefly until the dough comes together. If there are dry crumbs in the base of the bowl, or the dough feels hard and dry, add coldwater a teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 15 minutes, until firm but not hard.If the dough is kept for several hours or overnight, remove from the fridge and leave for 15 minutes before using.
2. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and roll out the chilled pastry on a floured work surface to about 4mm thick. Cut out 12 rounds using a plain 8-9 cm cutter and 12 small rounds, stars or holly-leaf shapes. Re-roll the trimmings as necessary. Press the larger rounds into the depressions in the (mince pie or muffin) tin, gently pressing the dough against the sides with your thumb to remove any air bubbles. You could put a strip of baking parchment in each of the depressions so you can “lift” the pies out of the tin more easily once baked. Be sure to use a good brand that won’t dissolve because of the butter (I’ve had this happen before).
3. Stir the mincemeat well and mix in the brandy, rum or Amaretto. Put about 1 1/2 teaspoons of mincemeat into the centre of eacht pastry pase. Lay a pastry star, round or leaf on the surface of each pie.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until firm and just golden. Richer pastry tends to brown very quickly, so keep an eye on these mince pies. Leave to cool in the tin for several minutes so the pastry firms up, then carefully unmould and cool on a wire rack. Then let it snow (dust with sugar)!
Source: The Great British Book of Baking