EF English Live Presents… Mince Pies

Quite possibly the holiday treat with the most colourful past is the mincemeat pie. Even the name suggests something that’s it’s not, (or at least not anymore). It can be a mincemeat pie without minced meat, a mince pie with meat, or vice versa. It is all rather confusing. Over the centuries these pies have gone through more than a few identity crises. From the Crusades up until the late 19century, the approach was to have actual meat in the pie. Anything from sirloin to ox tongue was chucked in with dried fruits and spices. Today’s norm is heavy on the fruit, light (if at all) on the meat, but don’t forget the suet. Preferably beef, this age-old ingredient is to thank for the delectable filling we all adore.

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*yields ~20 pies depending on the size of muffin tin

 

For the crust:

700g all-purpose flour

8 grams salt

28 grams granulated white sugar

4 sticks (450 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into small pieces

125ml water (approx.)

 

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter pieces in a bowl until it has the texture of sand or meal.
  2. Add the water and work in quickly with a large fork before wrapping in 2 layers of cling film and let to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

 

For the filling:

200g currants

200g beef suet

125g dark brown sugar

25g candied peel

grated nutmeg (to taste)

200g grated apple

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1/2 lemon

40g brandy

1 egg beaten

 

  1. Mix the currants, suet, brown sugar, candied peel and nutmeg in a large bowl. Once well combined add the apple, lemon (zest and juice) and the brandy and mix again.
  2. Spoon into jars, making sure to press out all air. Cover and leave to age for least a day(though the longer, the yummier.)

 

For the pies:

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

 

1) Pinch off golf ball sized balls of dough, roll them out and mold into a well-greased muffin tins. Spoon mince to the brim. Cover with piece of dough, either simply rolled out or cut into star or other shape.

 

2) Brush with beaten egg and bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges begin to brown

 

Dust with icing sugar (optional)  

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