Bill Sewell’s mince pies

Bill Sewell’s mince pies

From page 215 of Bills Kitchen

We don’t start Christmassy stuff at the cafés too early but as soon as we start making these they are scoffed at a challengingly speedy rate. 

I love mince pies but I only love really good mince pies. What I want is a high proportion of mincemeat to pastry; excellent well-balanced and fruity mincemeat; and a good crumbly pastry. These mince pies are the business. The recipe includes a bit from Gary Rhodes, a bit from Delia and a bit from me. I think it’s well worth making your own mincemeat – actually, it’s very straightforward and gives you the chance to customize the recipe to suit your taste. 
The pastry makes about 12 pies depending on the size of your pie tins/moulds.

Makes about 2.5kg of mincemeat (enough for 100 mince pies)

Mince pie recipe

For making the mincemeat

500g Bramley apples, cored and diced very small (pea-sized), no need to peel
250g pre-shredded vegetarian suet
500g raisins
375g sultanas
250g mixed candied peel, diced
350g light muscovado sugar
2 lemons, juice and zest
2 oranges, juice and zest
2 dsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
100ml ginger wine

For making the mince pies

Mince pie pastry – see page 251
1 egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt for glazing

To make the mincemeat

Put everything apart from the ginger wine into a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with some foil and put in the oven at 120°C (fan) for about 2 hours until the apple is tender. Take out of the oven and stir in the ginger wine. Store in pre-warmed sterilized jam jars or in Tupperware in the fridge.

To make the mince pies

You can make the mince pies any size you like; I use pie moulds which are 7cm diameter and 2.5cm deep with flat bottoms (you don’t get enough filling in the sloping-sided ones). The pastry will come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the mould, so any overspill of mincemeat juice won’t go all over the place.
Roll out the pastry quite thin and cut out circles using a 9cm-diameter cutter (keep some pastry aside to make small stars for the tops). Place the pastry neatly in the pie mould, pushing it well into the corners and making the top rim reasonably even. 
Put 35g mincemeat (one good dsp) into each one and then top with a star of pastry. Brush with a little beaten egg and bake for about 15 minutes at 180°C (fan oven) until golden and crisp. Leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin and then transfer to a cooling rack. Dust generously with icing sugar to serve.
These mince pies stay good for days, but they are at their very best when still just a little warm from the oven. 

From page 251 of Bill’s Kitchen

Mince pie pastry

This is an exceptionally delicious and rich pastry, perfect for mince pies, but probably a bit over-the-top for other sweet tarts.

Makes 1kg of pastry, sufficient for about 40 mince pies (see mince pie recipe on page 215).

500g plain flour
½ tsp salt
350g butter, chilled and cubed in 2cm pieces
150g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
2 whole eggs

Whizz flour and salt and chilled butter cubes together in a food processor until the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Add sugar and whizz again very briefly.

Mix egg yolks and whole eggs together. Add to flour mix and pulse a few times until the dough has just come together. Don’t overwork it or it will get tough. Divide into two manageable-sized blobs and put in clingfilm. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour before using.