Mince pies are just the perfect Christmas bake. They symbolise Christmas and the time spent with friends and family so well. Eaten hot or cold, with a splash of cream or served simply (and probably best) straight from the tin into greedy, outstretched hands.
The men in Cas's life may come and go, but her best mates Josh and Issie are staying put. Cas Perry from Game Over by Adele Parks, is so not into relationships. Hurt by her father walking out on her and her mum when she was a child, Cas puts up emotional barriers and has a string of casual relationships. But, other than her mum, there are two people she does have a long-term relationship with. And that's her friends, Josh and Issie.
Cas and Josh have known each other since they were seven. They met Issie whilst at university. They are each other's family. They spend a lot of time together, they have keys to each other's flats and cook for each other. Or, at least, Josh cooks for them all. It is a very nice set up, indeed. (Or it was...but, you know, spoilers.)
For Christmas, Cas and Josh always buy each other married couple presents. This year, it was socks and a rolling pin. And for New Year's Day, they settle down for homemade thick vegetable soup, mince pies and Christmas cake. With lots of alcohol sloshing about. Christmas food, friends, booze. Perfect.
My mum gave me this mince pie recipe. The pastry is pate sucree, which can be a bit difficult to roll out and can be fragile once cooked. But, it is so worth it. They have already been described as "the best mince pies this year" by one tester (and he had eaten a lot of mince pies). Try them. So much better than shop bought.
Bowl, rolling pin, pastry cutters, greased fairy cake baking tin.
250g plain flour
175g butter, diced and softened
150g caster sugar
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with a fork.
Jar of mincemeat (or you could make your own)
- You could make the pastry in an electric mixer, in which case put everything in and whizz until it comes together to make a ball. Then go to step 6.
- If making by hand then tip the flour and salt into a bowl.
- Add butter and use your hands to make breadcrumbs.
- Pour in sugar and mix.
- Add egg yolks and bring the pastry together into a ball, again with your hands.
- Let the pastry rest and chill in the fridge, wrapped in cling film or a plastic bag, for at least half an hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 160 fan or 180 degrees regular.
- Sprinkle the work surface and rolling pin liberally with flour and roll out to a desired thickness. (Not too thick, not to thin. Use your eye as judgement because you don't really want to be messing about with a ruler, do you?)
- The pastry can be a bit fragile so be gentle.
- Cut out the bottoms of the pies with a pastry cutter and place into the greased holes in the tin.
- Add a healthy teaspoon of mincemeat.
- Bring the scraps of the pastry together into a ball and re-roll.
- Cut out little stars (or any other shape you like.)
- Place on top of the mincemeat then bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Take out oven, allow to cool.
- Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
- You can freeze any leftovers and bring them out for your glorious domestic god/goddess moment, heating them gently in the oven for a few minutes.