125g unsalted butter
250g plain flour
1 level tsp salt
2 medium free range eggs, beaten
400g jar of premium quality or luxury mincemeat
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Take the butter out of the fridge and cut into 1cm cubes half an hour before using. Leave at room temperature to soften slightly.
Put the flour and salt in a roomy bowl and briefly mix with your hand (there’s no need to sift the flour). Add the butter and with your fingers, lightly rub it in to the flour, lifting your hands as you do so to keep the mix light and aerated. Stop as soon as the mix is the consistency of course breadcrumbs.
Add the beaten egg and briefly mix with a round-bladed table or palette knife to form a stiff dough. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it out slightly (if the dough won’t come together add a little cold water, but if the dough is a little on the wet side add a little more flour). Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for half an hour.
Heat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 12 hole muffin or tartlet tin. Measure the base and wall of the holes to give you the correct dimensions for the pastry disks.
When you’re ready to use it in your recipe, unwrap the dough and knead it lightly to prevent it cracking when you roll it out. Cut off one third to use as lids.
Roll out the larger piece to a thickness of a £1 coin. Stamp out 12 disks using the measurements as above. Gently ease them into the holes making sure the pastry goes right down into the corners.
Fill just shy of the top with mincemeat. Roll out the smaller piece of pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and stamp out disks that are a little smaller than the tops of the pies. Place these on top of the mincemeat and use a pastry brush to glaze with a little egg wash.
Place the pies in the centre of the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the lids and pastry cases are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tray for 5 minutes in order to firm up, then pop the pies out and place on a rack to cool.
Mince pies freeze really well and can be re-heated in a 180°C oven for 20 minutes.
For more delicious recipe’s, head over to the Exeter Cookery School website at www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk