Blanche Vaughan’s mince pies recipe


Homemade mincemeat is simple to make and easy to store, so I always make a few jars before Christmas. One batch of pastry and one jar of mincemeat will make 12 mince pies. This crisp pastry holds the filling well and I prefer to cut out a star shape to cover the top of the pies, allowing some of the filling to be visible. It also provides a better mincemeat to pastry ratio. You can keep a tray of uncooked pastry shells in the freezer to fill and bake for last-minute mince pies; they also make sweet gifts, in a box tied with a ribbon.

For the mincemeat, makes three 350ml jars
Bramley apples 225g, cored and chopped small
shredded suet 110g
raisins 175g
sultanas 110g
currants 110g
mixed candied peel 110g, chopped finely
dark brown sugar 175g
orange juice and zest of 1
lemon juice and zest of 1
blanched almonds 25g, chopped
ground mixed spice 2 tsp
cinnamon 1 tsp
grated nutmeg a pinch
fine sea salt a pinch
brandy 3 tbsp

For the sweet pastry, makes 12 pies
plain flour 250g
caster sugar 25g
salt a pinch
cold butter 170g
ice-cold water
egg 1, beaten

For the mincemeat, in a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, mix everything together and stir well. Cover and set aside overnight.

The next day, put the mixture into a large pan and gently heat, stirring, until the fat has melted and the mixture is heated through.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool before packing into sterilised jars. This will keep for up to a year in a cool place and it’s best left for a week or so before use for the flavours to really mingle.

For the pastry, put the flour, sugar and salt into a mixer and add the butter, in large chunks. Blitz until the butter has been cut up into petit pois-sized pieces, then tip the mixture into a bowl. Add 3–4 tablespoons of cold water and start to bring the mixture together lightly, with your hands. Add more water if necessary to form a cohesive dough.

Wrap in clingfilm and press into a disc shape, then chill for at least half an hour before rolling.

Roll on a lightly floured surface to approx 5mm thickness. Cut out round shapes, large enough to fill a standard 12-hole tart tray. Re-roll the remainder and cut out 12 stars to put on top.

Heat the oven to 130C fan/gas mark 2. Fill the pastry cases with mincemeat and top with the stars. Brush with egg and bake for 25–30 minutes or until the pastry is browned and crisp. Allow to cool before removing from the tray.