Christmas wouldn't be the same without delicious mince pies but I find some of the shop-bought ones too sweet (even for my sweet tooth!) The addition of fresh cranberries and apple to a jar of mincemeat gives these pies a really fresh taste.
The recipe is from the free Waitrose supermarket newspaper, Waitrose Weekend..........
For the pastry:
500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
225g slightly salted butter cut into small pieces (or use margarine for a softer, shorter pastry)
75g lard, cut into small pieces
5 tbsp icing sugar
(As a shortcut, you could use two packs of 375g of sweet shortcrust pastry instead of making your own!)
For the filling:
410g jar mincemeat
100g fresh cranberries roughly halved
1 small cooking apple
50g dark or light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg beaten to glaze (optional - I prefer not to glaze)
Caster sugar to sprinkle (I used icing sugar)
1. To make the pastry, put the flour in a food processor, add the butter and lard and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar and blend lightly to mix. Add enough cold water, about 4-5 tbsp, to mix to a firm smooth dough (alternatively rub the fats into the flour in a bowl then add the sugar and water to mix to a dough.) Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a small ball. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour.
2.To make the filling, turn the mincemeat out into a bowl and add the cranberries. Peel the apple and grate the flesh into the bowl, working around the core. Add the sugar and spice and mix well.
3.Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Thinly roll out three-quarters of the pastry on a floured surface and cut out rounds using a 8-9 cm cutter. Use to line each hollow of two 12 hole tartlet trays. Brush the edges with a little water and pile the filling into the centres.
4. Roll out the remaining pastry with the trimmings and cut out lids using a 6 cm cutter. Position on the pies pressing firmly together around the edges to seal. If you wish, brush with beaten egg to glaze.
5. Bake for 25 mins until golden. (You might need to rotate the tins half way through cooking) Leave in the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for serving cold or until ready to warm through. (I've put half a dozen in the freezer too for unexpected guests!) Serve sprinkled with sugar.
We prefer to warm them in the oven before eating.......perfect with a glass of mulled wine!
I've made my own mulled wine in the past but I now just buy a good quality bottle (or two) from Marks and Spencer and add a cinnamon stick to the pan as it's heating up..... ready in a couple of minutes!
.....and look what I found in the new Anthropologie department at Selfridges......a mulled wine scented candle ......so the house really does smell of Christmas now......
On the same page as the mince pie recipe I spotted this cute joke which made me smile....silly I know (but I like the jokes in Christmas crackers too!)
More Waitrose Christmas recipes here