Too early for festive cheer?

Recipe Tabs

I know it is a bit too early to be using the big C word, but this year we had winter snow so early that I can't help but feel a little Christmas cheer creeping up into my kitchen! I baked the first batch of mince pies last week. Most of the 12 little jewls are now safetly tucked away in my freezer... I say mostly  because a few had to go through my in house quality control check, i.e. Alan had to taste some and make sure they were up to our high standards!
As a Mexican, mince pies have been an acquired taste, but after ten years, they have warm up their way into my heart. My mother in law gave me this recipe, which was pass on to her by her mother, and the pastry, although a bit complicated, is devine! 
In any way, with all the snow outside and all the crappy news on telly, we're allow a bit of early festive cheer and nothing brings it better for me than the smell of these little gems baking in my oven! Go on, say it out laud! It's CHRISTMAS!!

Sieve icing sugar, flour and salt together.


Beat the egg yolks with the water and lemon juice and set aside.


Place the butter and half of the sieved dry ingredients in a big bowl. Incorporate them with a fork until they resemble bread crumbs. Do not use your hands as this brings heat to the pastry and it will ruin it. It's hard work, but believe me, it's worth it.


Add the egg yolk & water mixture to the crumbly flour mix and gather everything with the fork before adding the rest of the dry ingredients. You can use an extra teaspoon or 2 of half iced cold water and half lemon juice if you feel that the dough needs more liquid. The texture of the dough should be firm and all should be well incorporated. When all the mixture is together, place it in aplastic bag and chill it in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight works well too).


While dough chills (or the following morning if you left it overnight), empty the mince into a bowl and pour the whiskey over it. Mix well with a spoon and leave it to one side until ready to fill in the little pies.


Get now ready to make the pies by lining a muffin / cupcake tin with paper or silicon cupcake cases. Also set the lightly beaten egg for brushing next to the tin with a pastry brush.


Heat your oven at 200 degrees celsius or 180 degrees celsius if you are using a fan oven.


Take the dough out of the fridge and cut into two halves. Roll one half over a lightly floured surface to an acceptable thickness, about 3 centimetres or thereabouts. Using the bigger of your round cookie cutters, cut what will be the bottom of your pie the rolled dough. Drop the pie bottom into one of the lined muffin / cupcake tin holes and spoon 1 or 2 teaspoons of the mince meat in the middle. Don't overfilled the pies as they will burst and spilled.


Cut the top of the pie, the lid, using the slightly smaller round cookie cutter. Lift the round lid and brush it with beaten egg all around its circumference before placing this side on top of the filled bottoms; this will help the lid of the pie to stick to the bottom part and to seal it, preventing spillages as much as possible.


Using a sharp knife, cut a small cross on the top of each little pie so steam can escape during the baking process; this also avoids burstings and spillages. Brush the top of the pies with beaten egg as well so they brown evenly in the oven.


Repeat steps 8 to 10 until you have no dough left and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (if you are using a fan oven, bake them at 180 degrees celsius).

These little pies are delicious and you can use this pastry to make mini apple or jam pies. If using jam, make sure to use good quality fruit jam with high content in fruit as the ones with high sugar content tent to bubble up and burst the pies. Happy baking!

Credits:the photo on the banner & those of the tostadas being assembled were taken by the lovely Healey O'Reilly