An integral part of Christmas
Afriend of mine who works in a five- star hotel has just finished preparing 1,000 mince pies for its forthcoming annual Christmas fair. They are an integral piece of Christmas. My grandma made them every year and while she always made her own pastry by hand, she always bought a jar of mincemeat for the filling.
My mince pie making tradition began as a newlywed. My initiation into the fold was complete when I was assigned the task of making mince pies for Christmas by my in- laws. Now, I start to bake mince pies from the first week in December. While my kids love the taste of them, they love making them even more.
You may be surprised by how quick and easy it is to make your own mincemeat from scratch without slaving away for hours. I use a simple recipe and I find using “mixed spice” ( a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and mace) avoids having to buy lots of individual spice jars. Going into scaled production at this time of year will yield a steady supply of delicious mince pies for visitors. Keep a tray in the freezer uncooked and bake them when you need them.
When made small and dainty, they make gorgeous presents, wrapped and tied with a festive ribbon. I find my muffin tins have the perfect size hollows for filling deep mince pies. If you have a shallow tin, don’t overfill them to the brim as the mincemeat filling will bubble up over the edges. For a touch of luxury, a dash of Cointreau, extra orange zest or adding chopped toasted almonds all give you the license to create a signature mincemeat exactly to your taste. For a little added tang, apple juice or lemon juice will provide a subtle hint of sharpness.