A few weeks ago I was asked by The Everygirl if I'd like to write a piece about one of my favourite festive recipes. Without a moment of hesitation, I chose mince pies.
Back in 2010, I posted recipes for our mincemeat and mince pies. Homemade mincemeat is genuinely one of my favourite things to eat. In a pie, on a spoon - I don't care. It's completely different from the stuff you can buy. For the piece I reshot the photos and adapted the recipes into cups. Other than that I didn't change too many things, so the original posts still stand for gram measurements (though the mincemeat is a half batch in the feature, I used a few dried cranberries and I added the brandy at the beginning).
You can read the feature here - it also includes recipes from the lovely ladies at Sprinkle Bakes, Butter me up, Brooklyn!, Channeling Contessa and Ever Hungry.
While I was writing up the recipe, an idea kept niggling at me: shortbread instead of pastry. After I'd sent it in, I adapted my Whole Vanilla Bean Shortbread recipe and gave it a go. It was such a success that I wandered around the house for about an hour with a big grin on my face. I used to think that a rich pastry would be too much. It's not.
Of course, when I googled it, I discovered that it's a totally normal variation. But still. Best mince pies I've ever made.
Shortbread Mince Pies
50g cold unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
65g plain flour
pinch of sea salt
Approx 5 tbsp homemade mincemeat
Cut four thin strips of baking parchment and place them across the bottom of four cups in a muffin tin, making sure the ends reach up to the top of the sides (like a ribbon to take out a battery). Place the butter and sugar into a food processor and blend until you have a paste (you could also beat it in a stand mixer, but be careful not to overwork it). Add the flour and pinch of salt and pulse until the mixture has combined and starts to form tiny clumps. Divide the mixture between the cups then press into the walls and bottom as evenly as you can. Neaten up the top with a knife if you like - you can use any extra to make decorations. Place in the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Spoon about 3-4 teaspoons of mincemeat into each cup. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the shortbread is golden brown and the mincemeat is bubbling. Leave in the tin to cool for five minutes them use the strips to pull them out of the tin. Serve warm with plenty of cream.
(Makes 4, easily scaled up)
A few related posts:
Bûche de Noël
Quick Christmas Fruit Cake