Mmmm…mince pies

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These little pies or tarts are what I crave every December. They are easy to make and are full of sweetness and spiciness – bet you can’t eat just one!

I posted the recipe for the mincemeat a few weeks ago. Once the mincemeat has steeped in the jars in the fridge for 4 – 6 weeks, it’s ready to use.

I didn’t have a 9V battery to replace the dead one in my digital scales so I had to improvise. When I first came to Canada, I learned to convert recipes from pounds and ounces to cups. Americans love their cup measures. So I vaguely remember that a cup of flour is about 5 ounces. And on the label for my Earth Balance shortening sticks, it said that 4 ounces was half a cup. So here’s my pastry recipe with the conversion to cups and metric. It worked out fine.

Shortcrust pastry (as learned by me at school – the golden rule – half fat to flour)

Imperial
1lb wholewheat or whole spelt flour
4oz margarine or butter (I use Earth Balance vegan Buttery Spread)
4oz shortening (I use Earth Balance non-hydrogenated shortening)
1/4 teaspoon salt
cold water

American
3 1/5 cups flour
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 tsp salt
cold water

Metric
450g flour
112g margarine
112g shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
cold water

Cut the margarine and shortening into small pieces and mix with flour and salt. Use fingertips to rub fat into flour. When properly mixed, it should look like breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water and mix with metal spoon or knife. Add only enough to just hold everything together – too wet and pastry will be tough. Roll out on floured surface (a little less than 1/4 inch thick) and cut 24 circles (about 3 inches diameter). (It will be necessary to gather up trimmings and reroll a few times to maximise yield.) I used two regular muffin tins, but if you have the shallow ones, even better. I greased the tins before putting in the pastry circles. Curve the circles carefully and don’t push them right down.

Place a spoonful of mincemeat into each pastry case. Cut some smaller circles (about 1 inch diameter) or other little shapes if you have the cutters. Place on top of mincemeat.

Bake pies at 400°F (which I believe is 200°C) for 13 – 14 minutes until golden. Leave to cool a little before running a knife around each pie and carefully lifting out onto wire rack.

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