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
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.