Fes­tive pas­try that’s as easy (and as nice) as pie XAN­THE CLAY

Earn your crust this Christ­mas with h mince pies that are a cut above the usual su­per­mar­ket mar­ket fare

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - The Sunday Cook -

Stir-up Sun­day isn’t just about Christ­mas pud­ding: it’s an ideal time to get your mince­meat in the jar, too, as a few weeks soak­ing will plump the fruit and mel­low the flavours nicely. Shop-bought mince pies tend to be dizzy­ingly sweet, with sug­ar­laden pas­try as well as that syrupy mince­meat fill­ing. Make your own less-cloy­ing ver­sion with unsweet­ened pas­try and scat­ter it with a crunchy layer of de­mer­ara su­gar for a sparkling fin­ish.

Mince­meat isn’t just eas­ier to make and more worth the ef­fort than Christ­mas puds. It is end­lessly adapt­able as well, so add what­ever you like to make it your own recipe: choco­late, dried trop­i­cal fruit, chest­nuts, black­cur­rants. Most things with a punchy flavour or an in­ter­est­ing tex­ture will work. I start with a good ba­sic mince­meat based on El­iz­a­beth David’s, and im­pro­vise, ad­just­ing the su­gar and fat to suit any ad­di­tions. You could try th­ese ver­sions, or stir up some­thing uniquely de­li­cious in­stead.

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