Friday, December 21, 2007

Mummy's very special mince pies


What you see above may look like a perfectly innocent mince pie. I'd go further. It actually looks like rather a dull mince pie - no pretty star shaped tops or fluted edges. But wait! Remember - beauty lies within. The pastry top conceals a rather scrumptious filling of mincemeat topped with a cream cheese mixture that is far more delicious than it may sound. But things get better. You see this is no ordinary pastry. This is orange pastry. It is a little tricky to work with but it really is worth it - wonderfully crumbly, very Christmassy and perfect with the filling.

My mother made these mince pies some years ago. Strictly speaking they are not 'her' mince pies, but Josceline Dimbleby's. But I always think of them as hers. In my mind they are far superior to the normal kind though I do make 'normal' ones too so that I can make pretty star-shaped tops and use them as a vehicle for brandy butter.

WARNING - the orange pastry is SO delicious that it is difficult to resist eating the lot raw, before it is cooked. Perhaps you should make a little extra to account for this!


Mince Pies de luxe
(recipe taken from Josceline Dimbleby's 'Christmas Book')
Makes 24

For orange pastry -
500g plain flour
175g icing or caster sugar
375g butter
finely grated rind and juice of one large orange

For filling -
250g full fat cream cheese (it is Christmas, after all)
50g caster sugar
500-625g mincemeat
milk, to glaze
Caster or icing sugar to decorate

1. Sift flour and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub these into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

2. Stir in the grated orange rind and finally the juice, a little at a time, until the mixture sticks together and you can form a ball.

3. Pat into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

4. Mix together cream cheese and sugar. Set to one side.

5. On a floured surface, knead pastry lightly and then roll out rather more thickly than you would usually. The pastry is very crumbly and rather sticky and quite tricky to work with so go carefully and BE PATIENT (something I am not, but it is worth it).

6. Cut out rounds with a 3 inch pastry cutter and line greased mince pie tins with these disks.

7. Fill to half depth with mincemeat and then top with a teaspoonful of cream cheese mixture -


8. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out tops with a 2-inch cutter. Moisten the edges with water and place on top of filled bases, pressing lightly to seal.

9. Brush tops with milk and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.

10. As the pastry is so crumbly, allow these to cool in the tin before very gently easing from the tin with a rounded knife.

11. Serve warmed in the oven and sprinkled with icing sugar.


15 comments:

Joanna said...

And I think of these as my sister-in-law's mince pies ;) But she's never told me where the recipe came from (I may not have asked), and the Xmas book is the only Josceline Dimbleby book I don't own / haven't read

THANKS - and Happy Christmas!

Rosie said...

Hi Antonia,
I just love the look & sound of your mince pies. The pastry I know will taste delicious having made this myself before. Thanks for sharing with us mmmmmm great recipe!!!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2008!

Rosie x

Trekkie said...

Bung some in the post of us....pleeeeeeeease.

Have you tried it with goats cheese instead? Sounds odd, but it's scrummy.

Pixie said...

This sounds incredibly delicious. I have mince swirls to make next, but will definately give these a go, as I'm sure I will have some mincemeat leftover!

Antonia said...

Joanna - it is a great book. We use lots of the recipes from it each Christmas, especially some really unusual and healthy stuffings. I think it was written in conjunction with Sainsburys in the 80s so am not sure it is still in stock. Hope you had a lovely Christmas!

Rosie - they were delicious. Though not quite up to the standard of my mother's - I am eating one of hers right now as I type. Her pastry is a little thinner and crisper. I think I added a touch too much orange juice!

Lynn - Goat's Cheese? That sounds interesting. One to try next year!

Pixie - hope you had enough mincemeat left over as these really are wonderful - I am eating one right now, as I type. Delicious!

Lucy said...

Wow those sound so good! i love any pastry raw so these sound very dangerous for me but i may still give them a try! (I know it is way after christmas but i have a jar of luxury mincemeat left and these sound perfect!)
I am loving your blog and hope to start my own in 2008!
Lucy x

Antonia said...

Hello Lucy. Thank you for stopping by. Do give these a try with your leftover mincemeat, they really are good! They look much prettier if you use a fluted cutter, by the way, but sadly I couldn't find mine!
I look forward to reading your blog when the time comes!

GourmetGal said...

I was looking for this recipe to email to my friends, I live in California, and it's not easy to get mincemeat in jars out here, but I found some Crosse & Blackwell, and made these last week, during a snow storm ( I now live in the high desert, about 35 miles north of Palm Springs....)and they were every bit as good as I remembered..Jocelyn Dimbleby has written some great books, and her Christmas Book is a particular favorite of mine. Most of my friends here have never eaten a mince pie, so I am making batches of them as gifts. I got some dates from Palm Springs a few weeks ago, and I am going to make a date and walnut pie, and I am thinking of using the orange pastry for it.

GourmetGal said...

I was looking for this recipe to email to my friends, I live in California, and it's not easy to get mincemeat in jars out here, but I found some Crosse & Blackwell, and made these last week, during a snow storm ( I now live in the high desert, about 35 miles north of Palm Springs....)and they were every bit as good as I remembered..Jocelyn Dimbleby has written some great books, and her Christmas Book is a particular favorite of mine. Most of my friends here have never eaten a mince pie, so I am making batches of them as gifts. I got some dates from Palm Springs a few weeks ago, and I am going to make a date and walnut pie, and I am thinking of using the orange pastry for it.

Anonymous said...

And my family think of these as my mince pies, I am the mummy goddess of mince pies despite us all knowing they belong to Ms Dimbleby. My book is not with me and I am about to make more and despite having made them for a zillion years I can never remember the precise measure of sugar and butter. So thank you for printing the recipe here.

Happy New Year

Jeanne x said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. We have recently renovated our kitchen and in the process and I can no longer find Josceline Dimbleby's book. I was beginning to panic that Christmas wouldn't be the same without these little treats :))))

Antonia said...

Jeanne - you are welcome and I'm so pleased that you won't miss out this year. I adore these mince pies too.

Rachel said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! I have used it for three years in a row now!
This year is my first Christmas away from home as I'm newly married with a new baby and my first year making a full Christmas dinner for my husbands family, I feel confident in the knowledge that even if dinner is a massive flop atleast your fantastic mince pies will save the day!!

Thanks again and have a fantastic Christmas!

Rachel :)

jane said...

hi antonia,i found this recipe in a christmas magazine back in 1983 and have made 5 or 6 batches every year for friends and family.they are simply delicious and everyone who tastes them love them.

Anonymous said...

I remember making these when I was about 20 out of my mum's Jocelyn Dimbleby Xmas book, they were lovely and everyone liked them. I have been meaning to make them again, but never seem to get round to it! I am 52 now!!!and have the book on my bookshelf, maybe I will do it for New Year. Angela