Christmas Mince Pies or Christmas Mince Tarts are made with a plain crisp and buttery shortcrust pastry to better contrast the rich, fruited filling of a really good mincemeat. These pies have decorative cut outs as lids which make them look fanciful and are absolutely delicious.
1 cupmincemeat, 300g (from Christmas Fruit Mince recipe)
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First, have ready all ingredients needed to make the festive mince pies.
Start by making the butter pastry. Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk everything till well combined.
Then add in the COLD butter. Be sure to cut the butter into cubes and let chill in refrigerator before use.
Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The dough can also be made in a food processor.
Add ICE COLD water, a little at a time over the pastry until the dough comes together in a ball. (Add a little more ice water if needed).
Use a fork or your finger tips to toss the dough until it comes together.
Then place a plastic wrap on the work counter. Turn the dough onto the top of the plastic wrap.
Using the plastic wrap, gather the dough together into a ball. (The less you handle the dough the better).
Divide the dough pastry in half for easier handling.
Weigh the dough if you have a weighing scale so you can get a perfect half.
Form each half into a round dough.
Flatten the dough a little.
Then wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until its firm enough to be rolled. (This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour).
When the pastry has been chilled sufficiently and ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 200 degree C (400 degree F).
Have ready a non-stick 24 mini muffin pan.
Mix in a tablespoon rum into the store bought or homemade christmas fruit mince or mincemeat to make it more flavourful.
Roll the chilled dough till very thin. Flour the counter surface and rolling pin. Roll from the centre outward, keep turning the pastry so that you roll more evenly and check if the pastry is sticking to the counter surface. Always, run your hand over the rolled pastry to make sure it's of even thickness.
Using a round cookie cutter that's slightly bigger than the muffin cups, cut the pastry into 24 rounds. You can use a plain or fluted cookie cutter. Cut as close as possible so you don't waste any pastry.
Gently place the cut rounds into the muffin cups. Try not to pull too much the pastry. Otherwise it will shrink while baking.
Then top with a heaping teaspoon of fruit mince in each of the cut pastry cup in the muffin pan.
Using the leftover scraps of pastry, reroll into thin layer.
Then cut out another 24 smaller decorative stars or other fancy shapes using a smaller cookie cutter to fit as lids on the pies.
Place the cut out stars and other fancy shapes on the top of the fruit mince.
Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the pastry with a little milk as this helps with browning.
Next, sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry has lightly browned. And we're done!
Remove the muffin pan to cool on a cooling rack.
Then transfer the baked mince pies to cool completely on wire rack.
Dust with some icing sugar if desire, before serving.
These pies can be served warm, at room temperature or even cold. They also freeze well. As always, ENJOY!
Baked mince pies can be kept in airtight container for up to one week.To reheat, gently re-warm in an oven preheated to 17o degree C for 3 to 4 minutes.Mince pie can be made ahead of time as they freeze very well. Baked mince pies will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months wrapped in a plastic wrap. Just defrost them in the refrigerator overnight and/or reheat when needed.