Our Christmas Elf teaches us how to make mince pies
When my son was about 6 or 7 years old, I taught him how to send a text message. A few days later I was wondering out loud how to adjust some of the settings on my phone. Before I could say anything he had snatched the phone off me and was showing ME how to do it.
This week something similar happened with Elfin – our Christmas Elf. A couple of weeks ago we taught him how to make crumble top mince pies – a delicacy that is normally banned in the North Pole as after Christmas Eve Santa can’t face another mince pie for a whole year.
Elfin loved mince pies but with his little hands, he struggled to roll the pastry, so he took the recipe back to Santa’s Head of Sweet treats – Elf Sugarplum Mary – and together they came up with an easy mince pie recipe and quite a novel way to make mince pies.
There is no need to roll the dough, so younger children can join in too. Elfin’s mince pie recipe is quick, easy and melt-in-the-mouth tasty, with a crispy biscuity dough. So much so that once you’ve tried it you might not want to make mince pies any other way!
This easy mince pie recipe makes 16 to 18 pies. You will need:
- 225g of cold butter cut in small pieces
- 350g of plain flour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 280g mincemeat
- 1 small egg beaten
- Icing sugar, to dust (optional)
Here’s how to make the mince pies:
- Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and butter two 12-hole shallow bun tins.
- To make the pastry, rub the diced butter into the plain flour, then add the sugar and a pinch of salt. Knead the pastry into a ball – don’t add any liquid. The dough will be fairly firm, and slightly crumbly.
- Take one of your bun trays and press a small walnut-sized ball of pastry into a hole, so the bottom and sides are lined with pastry. Top the pastry with a teaspoon or so of mincemeat. Take a smaller ball of pastry and press it between you hands to make a round lid, big enough to cover the pie. Top your first mince pie with its lid and press the edges gently together to seal. – No need to seal with milk or egg as the edges will stick on their own. Repeat until you have used up all the pastry.
- Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar (if required).
- The mince pies will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container, they can be frozen before baking for up to one month.
Elfin’s tip: Marzipan lovers might want to add one small thin piece of marzipan at the bottom of each mince pie before adding the mince meat.