It’s not December until the first batch of Mince Pies is in the oven!
These little guys are so good….Sweet, spicy & rich with a light, crunchy, thin pastry case. Funny how we don’t give them a single thought the whole year, but when December hits – Mince Pies must be made and enjoyed almost on a daily basis until New Years Eve. At least that’s how it has always been in my family.
I suppose that’s what makes them special.
There are so many little traditions that each family has around this time of year that we sort of take for granted because it’s the norm for us. But as I’m sitting here thinking about how my family will be scattered across the globe this Christmas, I’m reminded of how even the smallest of things – like a little Mince Pie tradition – can mean a lot.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always wondered why this sweet little pie is referred to as a “mince” pie which doesn’t conjure up sweet & spicy thoughts at all…So I found out, and it’s rather interesting. I thought you might like to know too:
A mince pie is a fruit-based sweet pie of British origin that is traditionally served during the Christmas season in the English-speaking world. Its ingredients are traceable to the 13th century, when returning European crusaders brought with them Middle Eastern recipes containing meats, fruits and spices.
The early mince pie was known by several names, including mutton pie, shrid pie and Christmas pie. Typically its ingredients were a mixture of minced meat, suet, a range of fruits, and spices such as cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Served around Christmas, the savoury Christmas pie (as it became known) was associated with supposed Catholic “idolatry” and during the English Civil War was frowned on by the Puritan authorities. Nevertheless, the tradition of eating Christmas pie in December continued through to the Victorian era, although by then its recipe had become sweeter and its size reduced markedly from the large oblong shape once observed. Today the mince pie remains a popular seasonal treat enjoyed by many across the United Kingdom.
There you go! That makes more sense. Thanks Wikipedia.
We’re a little wiser and more informed about the origin of the little guys so let’s make ourselves a nice hot cup of tea and a mince pie! Or two. Who’s counting? Speaking of Christmas treats with tea reminds me of my delicious butternut bundt cake with orange glaze and toasted nuts the I highly recommend you try out this season. And my baked vanilla cheesecake with cherry coulis which you won’t want to miss out on, it’s amazing!
Happy Christmas baking to you. Drop me a little message if you make these, I’d love to hear how they turn out.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup + 1 tsp butter cold
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup sour cream or fresh cream with some lemon juice to sour
- 1 jar fruit mincemeat
TO MAKE THE PASTRY:
Place the flour in a bowl and rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until it looks like fine crumbs.
Add the salt and sour cream and mix with a metal spoon until the pastry comes together. Form into a ball with your hands, place in a plastic bag and rest in the fridge overnight.
TO MAKE THE MINCE PIES:
Preheat oven to 180°C.
On a clean, floured surface, roll the pastry thin and cut out circles for the base and stars for the top.
Place the base circles into an un-greased mince pie tin (or shallow cupcake tin), spoon in 1 heaped tsp of mincemeat into each pie. Wet the corners of the stars with a little milk and place on top, pressing down lightly in the corners so that they stick to the base pastry. Brush the stars gently with some milk and then use a fork to make 4 little holes in the middle of the stars to let out the steam.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 minutes until they are golden. Then do the next batch.