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It’s Mince Pie time… Pastry making skills at the ready?

15 Dec


It’s Mince Pie time!  There has been a little time now since my last post ‘Seasons greetings with my Mince Pie filling…‘ so you should have a delicious mincemeat ready to fill the mince pie pastry here today.  If you haven’t made mincemeat and would rather not use a shop bought version packed with preservatives and filled with fat (suet) then find my blog and have a go!  It’s quick, easy and totally delicious.

So it’s now pastry time and I can feel your fear from here.  How can I reassure you?  Well as I have said before, it’s all about having a go, so follow my tips and my recipe and you won’t go wrong.  I promise.

The most important thing to remember is you need cool hands, cold water and butter at room temperature.  If you don’t have cool hands you can cool them down in cold water for a few minutes before getting started.  So… turn the cold taps on and get your hands under right up to your wrists (you need to cool your blood so your wrists are the best place to cool).  Grab a jug of cold water and add some ice cubes, and make sure the butter has been out of the fridge for 30 minutes – or so.

Let’s get baking!


  • 100g plain white flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour (to make them a little healthier)
  • 80g butter (at room temperature)
  • 40g brown sugar
  • Zest 1 orange
  • Juice 2 oranges (add 2 ice cubes) / iced water to bind (approx 50ml)
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • Milk to brush


First we need to make the pastry and if you can master this you can make shortcrust pastry for pies etc. and won’t need to buy it.  This will impress everyone who comes to dinner.  So, without further ado… Sift the flours into the bowl and then chop the (room temperature) butter into cubes and add to the bowl.  Now you need to make breadcrumbs so… pick up the butter and the flour (with your cold hands) and using your thumbs, rub the mixture across your fingers.  It’s a tricky process to describe!  Continue this until you have lots of fine breadcrumbs.

Now you can add the flavour to your basic pastry mix.  Add the sugar, orange zest and mixed spices to the breadcrumbs and mix well.  We are making a tasty, sweet pastry – hence the sugar, but if you wanted plain pastry you would omit these extra ingredients and just add some water now.  Mix together well.

Next is the liquid.  You will need to add the liquid you have chosen – either orange juice or water – a little at a time.  If you add it all at once it could be much to soft and you will not be able to make pastry.  So, add a tiny bit of liquid and mix with a cold, metal spoon.  Add more liquid and repeat the mixing.  Continue this until the breadcrumb mix is just combining to a lumpier consistency and then stop.  Take the pastry out of the bowl, and to bring it all together into one large ball.  Wrap it in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.  It needs a rest and so do you (for doing so well of course!), so you can have a cup of tea while you wait and then you can grease the muffin/bun tin with a little butter.

Resting time done? Baking trays greased?  Excellent – it’s time to roll out.

Flour your work surface with plain flour and then pop the pastry onto the floured area.  Sprinkle a little flour over the top of the dough and flour the rolling pin.  Roll out the pastry.

Now I personally think its best to roll the pastry back and forth 3 times then loosen the pastry with your fingers, turn it 90 degrees on the work surface and roll 3 times, loosen, turn 90 degrees etc.  This allows me to make sure the pastry isn’t sticking and to make a square that fits on my work surface.  Not a huge oblong!

Keep following my rolling process until the pastry is about 3mm thick (no more or you will only taste pastry).  Use a large scone cutter to cut out the bases and a smaller one for the lids.  Drop the large base over the top of the muffin tray/bun tray but DO NOT PUSH IT DOWN.  If you do this they will stick and you will not be able to get them out.  You will cry.  I know from experience!

Once all the bases are in, put in 1 tsp (only) of filling.  this can bubble out if you put too much in, so in this case less is more.  Using a pastry brush, brush milk around the edge of the little pie and sit the lid on top.  Push the edges together gently and then milk the tops.

Before I bake them I like to use a little knife to make a slit in the lid of the pie.  This allows steam out and also makes them look authentic!

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden.  Using a knife carefully lift the pies out onto a cooling rack (if you don’t do this they will get soggy bottoms).  Sprinkle caster sugar over the top and VOILA!  You have made perfect mince pies.

ENJOY & most of all a Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!


Ps.  After my post last week I badly cut my middle finger on my left hand.  So apologies if this recipe isn’t as detailed as normal and there are typo’s.  I am typing very slowly and inaccurately with one hand… ouch!


Seasons Greetings with my Delicious Mince Pie Filling…

12 Dec


This week I have been making copious amounts of this fabulous mincemeat!  Why!?  I hear you ask.  Well… I work as a Nutritionist in the community teaching others in the world how to cook, create healthy delicious foods and I really want to inspire others at home to have a go – plus its the CHRISTMAS SEASON.

Baking is really not as complicated as people think and my belief is – its important to have a go.  As in all walk of life, you learn from your mistakes and believe me I have/have had many and will have many more.

So without further ado, here is my first blog about these gorgeous mince pies!

Making the Mincemeat

This really is THE most important part of the mince pie and if this is not absolutely delicious no one will like your mince pies.  (Getting straight to the point!)  I have manged to convert 6 mince pie haters in the last week with this simple recipe so here goes…


  • 20 pitted dates (the fresher the better – the hard ones need soaking overnight)
  • 250g golden sultanas / turkish sultanas – these are they key!
  • 250g currants – without stones
  • 100g raisins – without stones
  • 100g apricots – finely diced
  • 3 oranges – zest of 2 and juice of 3
  • 2 large cooking apples – peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg

Optional – you could try substituting the 100g raisins/sultanas for dried cranberries if you would like!  Be experimental!


Follow the ingredients list above to ensure that all your ingredients are prepared as listed.  Then its simply a case of combining everything into a large pan.  This must be heated on the hob at a gentle simmer (do not allow to boil), with regular stirring; so that all the ingredients combine together and make a thick mincemeat.

If the mixture is not regularly stirred you will find that some of the mixture could stick to the pan and burn, so do not allow this to happen.

Benefits of making your own

  • Any extra can be stored and put into jars for Christmas presents
  • Everyone will be surprised/amazed that you made your own mincemeat
  • There is very little added sugar (its mostly just sugar from fruits)
  • There are no added preservatives – so you can be sure you are not eating anything that isn’t natural
  • Its is completely delicious and you will be able to convert mince pie haters to lovers which will make you feel fabulous!

I really hope you enjoy making this recipe.  I will soon be adding my pastry recipe, so that you can make the entire mince pie.  Let me know how you get along with this recipe and do send me your images, thoughts and any alterations/additions you make! ENJOY!