My Grandma is famous for 2 great things - 1. Her apple pies/crumbles and 2. Her Christmas mince pies! And at this time of year, with the tree up and family coming over, what better than to freshly bake some mince pies. She (and I) cheat a little with using ready-made mince meat from Sainsbury's with some added brandy, and then make the short-crust pastry to her perfected recipe.
Ingredients - Makes 2 dozen pies.
20 oz self-raising flour
5 oz lard
5 oz butter
2 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
5 tbsp cold water
Large Jar of Mincemeat mix (I used Sainsburys)
Good splash of brandy
1. Add a good splash of brandy to the mincemeat in a bowl (preferably leave overnight)
2. For the pastry - cut the fat into small cubes and rub into the flour, stir in the sugar once the mix is like breadcrumbs.
3. Add the water and bring the pastry together (don't be tempted to add more water, it will come together eventually, this is what keeps it 'shortcrust') Then wrap in foil and if possible refrigerate over night, if not at least for a couple of hours.
4. Cut the pastry in half and roll out for the bottom with a large fluted cutter (approx 1/2 cm)
Place the bottoms in a non-stick tin, add a teaspoon of mincemeat (don't overfill them)
5. Then roll out the other half of pastry and cut the tops out (either using the same size cutter or a slightly smaller one) and then at this point - you can freeze them in the tin for a couple of hours until they're hard enough to carefully lift out the tin and put into a box to keep them in the freezer for a few weeks.
6. Or cook straight away at about 150c for about 20-25minutes until golden.
Then dust with icing sugar and serve with festive cheer!