Christmas is around the corner, meaning mince pies are back in! Every year for the Christmas season the whole of Britain is eating the small fruit filled pastries. They can be made with shortcrust or puff pastry – a thin layer of dough on the bottom and the top encases the filling, which is called mincemeat. Mincemeat is usually made of chopped fruit, nuts, spices, and often people like to add a dash of alcohol such as brandy or rum.
I personally prefer homemade mincemeat, because you can add all the spices and alcohol you want and experience and explore until you find the perfect mix. Ingredients are usually mixed with spices such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg; these spices symbolize the gifts of the three wise men from the Orient. Mince pies taste best when they are served warm, with a little sprinkling of icing sugar on top. Cream, custard or brandy butter (a Christmas speciality) also go well with them as a dessert after the delicious Christmas meal, or as an accompaniment to Christmas pudding. However, they also taste delicious with a simple cup of tea or coffee…
Britain has enjoyed mince pies since medieval times where they called it Chewette pastry, which was either baked or fried and stuffed with liver or pieces of meat mixed with boiled eggs and ginger. For variation people then started to fill them with dried fruit and other sweet things, and in the 16thcentury they developed into a Christmas speciality. During the 17thcentury, the meat was increasingly replaced by kidney fat, and since the 19thcentury the sweet form has largely established itself as a typical mince pie.
Of course, Santa cannot miss out on this delicious tradition, so one or two mince pies are traditionally placed in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve, since mince pies are considered Santa’s favourite dish.
I generally like to make several batches of mince pies to take to my clients to serve with their tea or coffee during the training sessions.
Have a look at this video to find out how to make mince pies: