Not very, unless you overbake them. :p
But, in all seriousness, this English classic is very easy to make at home and absolutely delicious.
My own recipe is a secret, which is secret, will be kept secret and not be secretly or discreetly disclosed.
However the general outline of how I make mince pies is free for anyone to experiment with.
You will need:
- 500g raisins or sultanas
- 500g mixed dried fruit (preferably including candied peel)
- 500ml applesauce
- cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste
- 500g flour
- 1 egg
- 300g butter
- 1 beaten egg
- sugar for dusting
- rolling pin
- greased/nonstick tart/muffin tray
- mixing bowls
- Mix the dried fruit, applesauce and spices together. Add around 50-200g of sugar if you think the mix isn’t sweet enough.
- Rest the mix as long as possible. Overnight or 12h is fine, but 48h allows for some real richness.
- Make a thick, stretchy pastry mix with the flour, egg, butter and a little water. Chill for 30-60min before use.
- Preheat the oven to 160C or 180C fan.
- Roll out the pastry at least 1/8 of an inch for small (tart tray) pies and 1/4 of an inch for deep fill (muffin tray) pies. I made the mistake of using 1/8 inch pastry for both and the deep fill ones were not as excellent.
- Cut circles for the base. Push them into the grooves in the tray.
- Fill your pies, leaving a bit of a rim of pastry visible.
- Brush the rim with beaten egg before adding circles of pastry for the top.
- Brush the whole pie with egg and sprinkle granulated sugar on top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and crumble juuust a little bit when pressed.
- Remove from trays and fully chill.
- Serve with wine or custard.
And feel free to mix and match the recipe! My own mix has another two to three ingredients and a specific spice balance. Jon normally despises mince pies, yet these ones received a 6/8 (an honourable 7 as he doesn’t like most mince pies). And friends and family seem happy enough with them too. Find your own perfect balance to enjoy!
TTFN and Happy Hunting!