So first of all, I hope you have made your own mincemeat, as it really does make for a tastier pie than bought versions, not to mention a lot healthier. Then, now that you have your mincemeat, the next step for me is to make some delicious mince pies. As I mentioned in the previous post, in case you missed it, the name is deceiving as these are actually deliciously sweet and no meat in sight. They go perfectly with a nice warm cup of coffee, hot chocolate or mulled wine.
To take mincemeat to mince pies, you basically need to make pastry and fill a base layer with mincemeat and top it either with another layer of pastry, with a little air vent, or a more decorative covering such as a star or lattice pattern. I would tend to advice against leaving them open as the mincemeat will probably dry out, plus you miss out on that lovely balance of crisp pastry with the juicy sweet mincemeat in between. Mince pies are usually made in a muffin/cupcake tin to be a nice handy single-serving size. I tend to use quite a shallow pan as it makes a good size and has less steep sides which work better for filing etc. It is possible to make a larger tart size, but personally I find a slice of that much more fiddly to eat and am less convinced by the balance of sweet filling and pastry, but that may just be me.
I recently saw chestnut flour when I was shopping and while I had heard of it before, for some reason it hadn’t clicked with me to use it in any way. Given the time of year, it seemed a perfect compliment to these seasonal treats so I decided to try it in a gluten-free pastry for these tarts, so more people can enjoy them but also for the nice flavor. If you would rather a more traditional pastry, then I would suggest the recipe in the pumpkin pie post.
I would warn that this pastry, like many gluten-free pastry recipes, is fairly crumbly, and so I would probably suggest it is better to cover the top properly rather than try to do a lattice as I did, as it will hold together a bit better. These do come out of the tin OK, if you are careful, but tend to collapse if they get the slightest bit jiggled around in transit (as I discovered) and sometimes if you hold them on the two edges rather than supporting underneath. All a bit of a flaw, I appreciate, and I did debate whether to post this pastry recipe at all, but decided I still would as it does taste delicious and they are already better than earlier versions. But, I might keep working on the pastry and would forgive you if you wanted to use another pastry, such as the pumpkin pie one as I mentioned, or else used ready-made. It’s OK, the star here is the mincemeat, so I would put the time into that if I were you and you have limited time. You won’t regret it – these are delicious! And you can tell yourself they are almost good for you too, if you really need an excuse to have a second one.
- 4oz/110g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 cup/110g chestnut flour
- ½ cup/56g almond flour/ground almonds
- ⅔ cup/ 90g rice flour
- 2 tbsp water
- 1-2 egg yolks
- I quantity of mincemeat (see separate recipe)
- Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
- Making the pastry is easiest in a food processor. Place the three flours and the butter in the food processor and pulse until like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the water and egg yolk(s) and pulse until mixed. It will probably still be crumb-like.
- Remove dough from mixer food processor and bring together into a ball, needing together a little.
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface (using rice flour), to a fairly thin thickness - only around ¼in/2mm. Cut circles in the dough bigger than your tin holes so that when you press it in to the tin, it fills to the top. You may find the circles crack as you fill the tin - if so gently press the dough together to seal the holes.
- Fill the cases with mincemeat, filling fairly full, then top the pies with either a smaller circle, star, or decorative lattice, sealing down at the edges and cutting a small vent in the top if covering completely.
- Bake in oven for around 10-15mins until gently golden.