The Christmas Tradition
Like the fruitcake, the history of the minced pie is rich and diverse. Centuries ago, mince pies were genuinely filled with meat, and were mixed with fruits, alcohol and sugar to help preserve it. Due to its cultural significance, it was center to many odd superstitions and events. It used to be considered good luck to eat 12 mince pies in 12 different houses over the 12 days of Christmas - which was essentially an order to celebrate, socialise, and make merry. When the eating of mince pies on Christmas day was reportedly made illegal in the 17th century, it was met with uproar, and even years later, was voted the 4th most ridiculous British law in 2007. Clearly it held the hearts of many, even to this day.
Thus, the making of mince pies has always been a cherished tradition filled with meaning. Mince pies should rightly be made at home, not purchased over a counter-top, for the perfect crispy buttery crust and taste of mellowed brandied fruit. Check out the recipe below for bite-sized melt-in-your-mouth festive goodness!
225g cup of 'mincemeat'
Whipped cream/icing for dusting
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp caster sugar
2tsp chilled water
225g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
150g (10tbsp) butter, diced
75g (6tbsp butter)
175g (11/2 cups of icing)
1. Lightly beat an egg yolk in a bowl , and mix together with caster sugar and water to form the pastry.
2. Sift flour into a separate bowl and rub in the diced butter into the flour till the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the prepared egg mixture to it for your dough. Wrap and chill it for 30 minutes,
3. In the meantime, for the filling, mix together the mincemeat and brandy.
4. Grab a cookie cutter (any shape of your preference, we went with star) and stamp out ~12 rounds to line a standard muffin pan with. Re-roll and repeat the process for the top.
5. Preheat oven to 200C.
6. Here comes the fun part- spoon a small amount of filling into each pie shell and top it with your star shape. Apply egg wash and bake for ~20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.
7.Start on the brandy butter. Mix together the butter, icing sugar and brandy into a bowl and beat until light and fluffy.
8. Pipe a little brandy butter into each mince pie by lifting the top part up. Add more frosting to the top if you wish, and you're done!
This recipe makes 12 mince pies, which our 12C standard muffin pan offers, with measurements for just the right size. For the dough, invest in a good rolling pin with a good history. SILPAT's nonstick baking mat has received rave reviews for their aid in creating the best baked goods possible.
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