Assemble the Mince Pies
N.B. This almond shortcrust pastry is delicate,
but should roll out smoothly and it is melt in the mouth!
Flour your work surface.
Next, divide the rested pastry into 3 and roll each piece
one at a time into a circle. Make sure a palette knife will
slip under the rolled pastry before you cut the rounds.
Use a 3" (7.5cm) scallop edge ring cutter and in total
cut 24 patty rounds for the bases. Before you cut the rounds
dip your cutter into flour - this will help the cut rounds come away
buttered tins with these rounds. If you find the pastry
difficult to handle when pushing it into the patty tin contours, I
suggest you take a one inch ball of the dough and use that to mould
each round into the patty tin. That way you won't poke your
fingers through each base.
With all the pastry scraps you can often get up
to 30 rounds out plus the toppings. You should certainly get 24 base
rounds plus 24 stars or holly leaves, especially if you
utilize the re-rolled pastry bits. If you do only make a
dozen then I suspect your pastry is rolled too thickly.
Fill 2 x 12 tray with rounds and place a teaspoon
or two of mincemeat in
each. Now place a level teaspoon of ground almonds over the
top of each amount of mincemeat filling. This will stop any
mincemeat juices boiling over the pie edges.
Mincemeat Pies Topping Decorations
don't seal my Christmas mince pies anymore as I hated the juice leakage affecting
the appearance of the cooked pies. Now, mostly I make small stars
and holly leaves for the tops. Combined with the addition of some
ground almonds, the loose lid has solved the former problem of juice
Use a star cutter or a holly cutter.
Mark holly leaves with some veins with the back of a knife. Half cherries make for great berries with the
Cover some of the mince pies with stars and freeze
a tray if desired. It is best to freeze RAW mince pies with stars
rather than holly leaves. The tips of the holly leaves can
easily chip off when frozen hard.
Bake for 15 minutes in a preheated oven set to
190°C, gas No. 5 or 375°F. If you feel they need a few
more minutes watch them carefully as the butter content in the
pastry can suddenly catch.
Ratafia Meringue Topping
For a little variety, I often take the 1 reserved egg white
(leftover from the pastry) and whip
it stiffly into peaks.
Add 2 oz caster sugar, whip again and now fold in 2 oz ground
almonds and half a teaspoon of almond essence.
Put this in a piping bag and pipe it over the
mincemeat on some pies. Spoon it over if you prefer.
Bake the Ratafia meringue mince pies for 20 minutes in a
preheated oven set to 190°C, gas No. 5 or 375°F. This
variety of Christmas mince pie takes a
little longer than the pastry topped pies.
Allow either type
to cool for a few minutes then carefully use a knife and/or teaspoon
to loosen the pies around the edge. You will need to judge
this timing of the pastry cool down, so you can remove the pies onto
a wire rack without the pies breaking up.
The pastry needs to be warm enough to yield to the knife, but not
so warm that it will break. The pastry does need to be firming up,
yet still have some movement in it. Try a few different sized spoons - I like
a flatter, rounder soup to lift out a whole pie. Sometimes a
teaspoon works best, sometimes the mince pies will just flip out
with no bother.