Making homemade mincemeat is not a difficult task and will really make a difference to the taste of your mince pies. Make a few weeks ahead to get a really good depth of flavour. This mincemeat with keep for up to 12 months in a wax sealed jar.
1 large cooking apple, approx 400g. no need to peel, just core & cut into small pieces
220g mixed peel
225g soft dark brown sugar
grated rind & juice of 1 lemon
grated rind & juice of 1 orange
3 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
6 tbsp brandy
Mix all the ingredients, except for the brandy, thoroughly together in a large bowl. Cover with a clean, dry cloth and leave for 12 hours.
To prevent fermentation, place the mincemeat in a cool oven, 100C fan for 3 hours.
Allow to cool, stir in the brandy and spoon into sterlised jars. ( see how to sterilise below)
How to sterise the jars:
Wash the jars with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly. Place in the oven at 160C for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before using.
Pastry: (makes approx 24 bun size)
350g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tbsp icing sugar
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
2-3 tbsp cold water
Some milk for brushing on top
Icing sugar for dusting
Lightly grease two muffin or bun tins, depending on the size of mince pie you would like. The number of pies you get out of this recipe depends on the size of the tin you choose.
Place the flour, salt, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. While the processor is running, add the egg yolks, one at a time. Finally add in 1-2 tbsp cold water until the mixture starts to come together into a ball.
Wrap the mixture in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180C fan.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and roll out half of the pastry as thin as you can. Cut 24 rounds with a 7.5cm cutter and line the tins with the larger rounds. Fill these with mincemeat to the level of the edge of the pastry.
Roll out the rest of the pastry and cut another 24 rounds with a 6cm cutter. (You could make star shapes for the top, like I've done below if you like!) Dampen the edges of the smaller rounds with water, place them on top and press down lightly to seal the lids of the mince pies. Lightly brush the top of each mince pie with milk and make a slit in the centre to allow .
You can freeze the mince pies at this stage if you would like. Wrap the whole tin in clingfilm. Place the whole tin in the freezer, then when the mince pies are solid, place them in a freezer bag or airtight container. When ready to cook, place them back in the tins and cook at 160C fan for 20-25 minutes. If you are cooking them straight away, follow the steps below.
Bake near the top of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden and piping hot. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack and sprinkle with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container to keep fresh.