I’m not sure when I first started making my own mince pies, but over the years it’s become a Christmas tradition.
I’ve made them for Christmas lunch with my family, gatherings at friends’ homes, even a picnic at Kirstenbosch with visitors from out of town. It’s become a ritual that signifies the start of the festive season and is something I love to share that was made by my own hands.
So now I want to share my secret recipe with you.
For the pastry, I use Ainsley Harriott’s mince pie recipe. The ground almonds (I use almond flour) give the pastry a delicate, crumbly consistency and nutty flavour, while the orange zest adds a wonderful aroma.
For the mincemeat, I start with a bucket of Food Lover’s Luxury Festive Cake Mix, which is essentially a big bag of mixed currents, glace fruit and almonds. The rest is entirely my own creation and tons of fun.
The end result is buttery, aromatic and biscuity. My friends swear by them.
140g diced cold butter
225g flour (I used self-raising)
50g ground almonds (I used almond flour)
50g caster sugar
Zest from 1 orange
Pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1-2 tsp cold water (I ended up using more)
1 egg, beaten
Icing sugar for dusting
Food Lover’s Luxury Festive Cake Mix
2 oranges, juice and zest
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon or cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Preheat your oven to 200C.
Follow the instructions for the pastry as per the original recipe here. Chill your pastry ball in the fridge for half an hour.
For the mincemeat, add a good few scoops of the Luxury Festive Cake Mix to a saucepan, add the honey, orange juice and zest and bring to a boil.
Add your spices and simmer until the mixture has reduced to a sticky consistency: approximately 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
Once your pastry has finished chilling in the fridge, dust a surface with flour and roll the pastry out to a thickness of 2-3 millimeters. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out rounds and press these into the bases of a greased muffin tray.
Fill the pastry rounds with 1-2 teaspoons of mincemeat and use whatever cookie cutter you like for the tops. I used hearts and stars. Press the tops firmly to the edges of the rounds to ensure they’re attached.
Brush the tops of your mince pies with beaten egg and bake for 15 minutes.
Once they’re cool, dust with icing sugar or Woolworths Shimmer Sugar.
Homemade mince pies are the perfect treat to bring along to Christmas lunches and also make a great homemade gift.