Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mince pies

These mince pies will keep in an airtight container for two weeks, or you can freeze them instead.

2 level tbsp caster sugar
450g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
Good pinch salt
250g salted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
50g Trex Pure Vegetable Fat, chilled, cut into small cubes
2 egg yolks from large eggs

1. Dissolve the caster sugar in 3tbsp hot water. Leave to cool, then chill further in the fridge. Sift the flour and salt into bowl. Add the butter and vegetable fat and rub in with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix the yolks with the sugared water and add to the bowl. Mix with a round-bladed knife until the mixture clumps together to form a dough.

2. Gather the pastry dough with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut out 28 x 8cm rounds and 28 x 7cm stars. Gather the leftover dough, roll out and cut out more shapes.

3. Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Use the rounds to line the holes of two 12-hole tins, easing them to fit in snugly. Fill each hole with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat from a 822g jar. Dampen the edges of the pastry shells, place the stars over the mincemeat, and press their ends against the shells to seal.

4. Bake the mince pies for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Leave in the tis for 10 minutes, then ease them out with a round-bladed knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Give them a light dusting of icing sugar before serving - hold the sieve above the pies and gently tap its sides.

Makes: 28
Ready in: 1hr 20mins plus cooling
Price per mince pie: 14p

Per serving:

Calories - 212
Fat - 11.4g
Sat Fat - 6.1g

Tips for making sweet shortcrust pastry.

Warm hands? Your ingredients and hands should be nice and cool when handling pastry o it might get crumbly and difficult to roll. Run them under cold running eater for a minute.

Hot kitchen? A steamy kitchen can have the same effect, so put the bowl of rubbed-in flour in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding the egg yolk and sugared water.

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