Others might just shrug and say "thanks but there is nothing better than Mr Kipling Mince Pies, so I'll just buy a couple of packs and save myself the bother of making them."
And then there is me. I thought to myself, okay, nobody is going to be interested in a mince pie recipe unless the result is so good that beings from other planets will visit the Earth to taste it. Well, I haven't seen any flying saucers in my backyard yet, but I think I created an incredible mince pie recipe!
If you really want to pop into my little shop and buy yourself some Robertsons Mincemeat, or some Mr Kipling Mince Pies this Christmas you will be very welcome. But, if you don't try out this recipe you will miss one of the great taste sensations in this sector of the galaxy.
Yes, Mr Kipling Mince Pies are very good. Very good indeed in fact. So good that I used them as a standard against which to compare the ones I made myself. The mincemeat had to be sweet, spicy and mouth-wateringly good. The pastry had to be firm and light with a smooth texture. Move over Mr Kipling, you have met your match.
For the mincemeat:
- 2 cups chopped dried fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins, apple, apricot, prunes, pears - mix and match your own choice of dried fruits)
- 1 tablespoon each of candied orange and lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Lyles Black Treacle
- Sugar to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
For the pastry:
- 1 cup fine, soft wheat flour (e.g. "Cake and Pastry" flour)
- 2 tablespoons margarine
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Bring 1 cup of water almost to the boil and stir in 2 tablespoons of Lyles Black Treacle until dissolved
- Bring to the boil then add all the dried fruit and lemon juice and boil gently for a few minutes
- Add the allspice, ginger and sugar, then stir thoroughly
- Simmer until the mixture becomes a little thick and sticky; stir frequently
- Spoon the mincemeat into small ovenproof ramekin dishes
- Rub the margarine, salt and sugar into the flour, in a mixing bowl, until the texture is like breadcrumbs
- While mixing the pastry dough, add cold water a few drops at a time until the dough is slightly dry but workable
- Roll out on a floured board to a thickness of half a centimeter
- Cut circles of dough about a centimeter more in radius than the ramekins
- Mould the dough so that it overlaps and seals against the outside of the ramekins then pierce small holes to allow steam from the mincemeat to escape during baking
- Bake at 350F for about a half hour or until the pastry looks well baked
- Near the end of the bake, sprinkle a little sugar and a few drops of water on top of each pie to create a sweet glaze
- Cool for about 15 minutes before eating
Traditional mince pies are made with a pastry shell filled with mincemeat covered with a pastry lid. The mince pies in this recipe only have pastry on the top and that leaves more room for the delicious mincemeat underneath.
The secret to good mince pie pastry is to make sure you use a fine, soft flour. If you make your pastry with plain flour, or "all purpose flour" your pastry will be a lot heavier. My pastry turned out to be every bit as good as Mr Kipling's.
It really is worth the little bit of extra trouble to make your mincemeat from scratch. The flavour is like all the Christmases you have ever seen come together in one day. I was very pleased; you will be too.