Mince pie season starts early, and it’s a great idea to prepare your mincemeat early, so you can bake a batch of mincers whenever you like and enjoy them with the perfect accompaniment of a glass of chilled Lanzarote semi-sweet wine.
• 50g each of sultanas, raisins, currants, dried figs and mixed peel • 25g each of almonds and pecans • 200g soft brown sugar • Small piece of ginger, grated • ½ tsp mixed spice (a blend of ground clove, cinnamon, ginger and allspice) • 3 tbsp whisky (or brandy or rum) • Zest of 1 lemon or 1 small orange • 1 small cooking apple, unpeeled and grated • 2 tbsp suet (vegetable, if you like) or cold butter
Lightly toast nuts, chop all dry ingredients roughly and place in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste and add more booze or spice as you like. Place in sterile jars and fasten.
• 340g plain flour • 1 pinch salt • 225g cold butter • 85g ground almonds • 100g caster sugar • 2 egg yolks • Beaten egg or milk • Icing sugar
Rub the butter into the sifted flour and salt until you have a fine crumb, like wet sand. Add the almonds and sugar, then mix in 2 tbspns of cold water. You should end up with a firm dough that’s not wet. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 200C (180C Fan) Grease a baking tray and roll out half the pastry until it’s 3 mms thick. Cut out bases, place in the baking tin and fill with mincemeat. Roll out the rest of the pastry, cut out the lids to whatever shape you like and seal with a little milk or water.
Prick each pie with a fork, glaze with milk or beaten egg and bake for 20 mins, until golden.
Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Cook’s tips: Experiment with your mincemeat – stem ginger, nutmeg, dried apricots can all add their own magic.
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