We couldn’t have timed it better. It’s definitely not beach weather today, which means it’s perfect pastry making weather and mum and I are making fruit mince pies.
I’ve never really been a huge fan of mince pies, but these, I love.
Mum’s mince pie recipe comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Celebrations’ cook book. The pastry is homemade short crust and the fruit mince is out of a jar. Growing up I’d never known anything to come out of a jar or a tin or bag of frozen anything – mum always made everything from scratch, except this. Mum say’s. “If you can be bothered to make your our fruit mince, that’s great, but Robertson’s do a good jarred one”. She’s noticed over the years there seems to be less fruit and more jam in their mix though. Maybe I’ll make my own fruit mince next year.
I’m rolling the pastry and mum keeps sidling up next to me to check its thickness – she’s made these so many times she can tell by eye. I haven’t rolled it thin enough. The pastry is really quite rich, so you don’t need much of it.
The pie tins we’re using are about “a million years old” (mum’s words), I remember watching mum make mince pies in these tins when I was young and I love the old Christmas tin she keeps all her cake decorating trinkets in – ribbons, candles, a handmade lace Christmas cake trim my Nanny made and we’ve found a star shaped pastry cutter from my Playdough making days. I decide to make half the batch with star shaped lids.
We argue about how much fruit mince to put in the cases – I think she doesn’t put enough, she thinks I put too much and it will bubble over. We meet half way… and I still think they could do with a little more next time.
Dad calls out from under his criptic crossword, “Any rejects I can have yet?”.
A few of the tarts break as I ease them from the tin – I think we’ve made the pastry a bit too short. We snack on the ones that haven’t made it out in one piece and although a little crumbly, the pastry is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Mum thinks these taste better than usual, but just too many casualties.
They don’t take long to cook – just 10 minutes. We leave the first batch in about 1 minute too long, “If you start to smell them, you’ve cooked them for too long” mum says.
Fruit mince pies
Makes: 36; Prep time: 35 minutes; Cook time: 10-15 minutes
I cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup cornflour
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 custard powder
1/4 cup iced water (approx)
– Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in butter. Add enough to make the ingredients just stick and come together. Kneed lightly on floured bench until mixture is smooth. Divide in to four portions, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes
– Roll a quarter of the pastry on a well floured surface (pastry mat if you have one) until approx 2mm thick. Use a 7cm pastry cutter to cut rounds for the base and place in greased (spray oil) patty pan tins. Fill cases with 1 tsp fruit mince (don’t use too much or it will bubble over). To make the lids use a 6cm pastry cutter or a star.
– Bake in a moderate oven for about 10-15 minutes – keep an eye on them, they turn quickly – you want them just starting to go golden
– Dust with icing sugar and enjoy while Christmas is still an excuse to!
** Three mince pies were eaten during the writing of this blog post **