It is the season, and with the season comes a lot of eating.
At Christmas we indulge in all kinds of things, whether it’s too much turkey, a few extra pigs in blankets or hearty desserts which, let’s face it, would not be touched at any other time of the year.
Mince Pies, one of the most controversial festive treats, is a fan favorite in our household. The spiciness of these Christmas spices wrapped in a short, sweet dough is divine.
Read more: Latest Christmas news
Now normally my dad would just buy a pack, he tries to go for the fancier ones, but you can get a decent pack of tarts, often in quantities of six for about a pound if you go to the right place.
I decided, because it’s Christmas and we all know how much I love a little pastry, to make my own and I can tell you right away that it’s not worth worrying about.
I’ll tell you why in a moment, but first here’s the recipe and method if you choose to go to the trouble of doing it in a vain attempt to annoy a family member or just because you’re bored.
What do you need:
160 g unsalted soft butter
375g plain flour
125g icing sugar
1 pot of minced meat
It couldn’t be easier to put them together – which begs the question of why I’m so against it – but that’s basically what you need to do.
Combine flour and butter in a bowl, rubbing between your hands until you get a sandy texture, remember how to make shortcrust pastry? Well that’s exactly what we’re doing, but it’s a toned down version.
Once you’ve reached the sandy / breadcrumb stage, you add your sugar and a beaten egg, then mix until you get a smooth paste.
When you have a smooth dough, wrap it in cling film and refrigerate it in the fridge – since it’s a third of butter, it will soften quickly if you keep playing with it.
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At this point, preheat your oven to 180 ° C (hot air) or 200 ° C (regular). Then, after about 20 to 30 minutes, take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll it out on a floured surface until it is about a pound thick.
Make sure you’ve greased a muffin tray or a few small silver pie plates, as the next step is arguably the trickiest.
Cut out circles of dough slightly larger than your muffin tray and put the dough in, leaving a space underneath so that no air can get inside.
Press the dough into the holes in the tray and bring a lip of dough around the edge, this will form your seal for the lid.
Then take some more batter and cut out lids, again slightly larger than the holes in the muffin tray so they can merge with the bottom.
I must point out of course that by this point you will have opened the jar of minced meat and put a healthy tablespoon in your baking containers.
Why not make your own minced meat if it’s a homemade minced pie? Because there are around 14 ingredients, including copious spices and some spirits.
You can pay a pound for a jar of ground beef or around 35 pounds to make your own – don’t bother with the latter.
Once your ground meat is in, take your other egg and beat it to create a foil that you will then use to brush the edges of the pies before securing the lid.
If you’re not particularly skillful like me, do your best as long as they’re sealed, you won’t be faced with a flow of magma-like minced meat coming out of the oven.
You also don’t have to use full lids, you can make small shapes like leaves or Christmas trees, but if you are using a full lid, make sure there is a hole to allow steam to escape, otherwise bursts may occur.
After all of that, brush the pies with a little more egg coating and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, crispy and smelling like Christmas morning.
Take them out when cooked and let them cool – seriously let them cool down, you will ruin the flesh of your hands if you try to be greedy.
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That’s it, the tarts are done.
Now why am I so against making them? It literally isn’t worth it, which is why.
As a country we do a lot of good things and a lot of bad things, but the pies are one of the things we have until a T.
I haven’t yet found a mince pie in a supermarket that’s arguably worse than making it at home, unless you’ve put in the effort to make minced meat and want to show it off. not worth it.
Of course, if you’re doing something at home, you want it to be like you normally would in a store, but it should be better. They are not better, they are all the same.
Make something special at Crimbo like a Christmas cake with luscious white frosting and marzipan or make an Austrian torte sacher (look for it).
Chopped pies exist for a pound in stores and they are good as they are – don’t bother imagining them, a lot of people don’t like them anyway.
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